Chairperson and colleagues,
Financing for gender equality is a major subject. It is the fundament of our structures and machineries, but also for development and change.
The Nordic countries have experienced that the transformation of our economy depends on the advancement of women and men in working life and in familylife. We have promoted gender equality through financing (for example) child care, parental leave for mothers and fathers and opportunities for lifelong learning and training.
Access to affordable kindergardens gives women the opportunity to paid work and their own income. At the same time women’s employment opportunities must be developed through the support of innovation and development funding. Financing for the empowerment of women and girls also includes budgeting for health including sexual and reproductive health, as well as social protection measures.
The Nordic Countries have experienced that the welfare society and this way of financing for the empowerment of women pays off! Making use of women’s competence and resources creates values, economic growth and prosperity.
We must therefore make transparent both the cost of action and the cost of inaction. The cost of funding and the cost of no funding.
There is no contradiciton between women’s rights and including women as an economic and social resource in society. The inclusion of women in the economy (through financing social rights) is a measure for making human rights come true also for women. Economic activity gives women independence, responsibility and the management of their own life.
Investing in women has proved a prerequisite for welfare society and sustainable development, social and economic welfare. New reports – the World Bank development report of 2012 and the report of the Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Global Sustainability Resilient People Resilient Planet strongly supports this gender perspective.
Let me conclude; financing for the empowerment of women has also a democratic aspect. The civil society and the organisations are both driving forces behind change and a corrective to the authorities’ efforts to promote equality. The authorities should garantee grants and at the same time accept the independence and the voice of civil society.