Norway: - Gender Equality is Smart Politics

3/25/2009 // Gender equality as an economic and competitive advantage is among the main messages the Norwegian Minister of Equality has to the UN Commission on the Status of Women while heading the Norwegian delegation. As Norway was ranked world no. 1 on gender equality in the World Economic Forum Gender Gap Report 2008, many states are eager to get some ideas from the Norwegian experience. 

Norwegian gender equality policies attract attention partly because of Norway’s relatively high birth rate (top five in Europe). Having a strong female professional participation and top score on gender equality while still maintaining birth rates is made possible much thanks to the legislation in Norway: 

  • All big companies must have 40% representation of both genders in their board.
  • The Gender Equality Act prohibits all discrimination on grounds of gender. 
  • Parents are entitled to one year leave after birth, and the parents can divide this between them as they wish. Six weeks are reserved for the father. 
  • Government ensures full day care coverage 
  • An employee with small children has the right to flexible working hours, regardless of gender.

At the CSW the Norwegian Minister of Children and Equality, Anniken Huitfeldt, talked about the Norwegian policy at different events. She gave a statement at the round table discussion about the CSW priority themeon Monday and gave Norway' s main statement in the generla debate Wednesday. She also presented the Norwegian white paper on ”men and gender equality” published i Norway in january 2008 at the seminar ”Men’s caregiving responsibilities in a life span perspective”, gave an opening statement to the seminar "Advancing Women in the Global Marketplace" that was arranged by Global Compact and UNIFEM. She also partitcipated at the seminar ”Gender Equality as Smart Politics: Norwegian and American Experiences in Business, Society and Policy" at Scandinavia house.

A. Huitfeldt's CSW General Debate Statement  

Gender Equality as Competetive Advantage (Opening statement by A. Huitfeldt)

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Håkon Gulbrandsen, also took active part at CSW:

Combating Sexual Violence in DRC (H. Gulbrandsen panelist at IPI forum)

Promoting Sexual and Reproductive Empowerment (Opening statement by H. Gulbrandsen)

Georg Kell (Global Compact), Anniken Huitfeldt, Inés Alberdi (UNIFEM) at the seminar "Advancing Women in the Global Marketplace". 
Photo: Siv Helén Strømland/ MFA  






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