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Men and boys must take part

Men and boys must take an active part in gender equality policy as well as in practice, and the gender perspective must be included in all areas of society. These are some of the important factors which are necessary to create a sustainable society, concluded the Nordic ministers for gender equality at their meeting in Copenhagen on Monday 18 October 2010.

Johannes Jansson/

"Gender equality is not a female project. Men and boys should be encouraged to take part in gender equality work and the debate. They should participate both in how equality policies are drawn up and how they are put into practice. For example, when combating violence against women, we must involve both the men who violate the women and those who do not in the efforts to change the male culture", says Lykke Friis, Danish Minister for Gender Equality.

The active participation of men and boys and the integration of the gender perspective will be focus areas in Nordic gender equality co-operation over the next four years. These areas of priority are outlined in the new programme for gender equality policy co-operation from 2011-2014 which were adopted by the Nordic ministers for gender equality on Monday 18 October 2010.

Domestic violence is a topic of great concern for the Nordic ministers of gender equality and is a recurring theme in the co-operation programme. The ministers decided, therefore, at their meeting in Copenhagen, among other things, to focus on combating violence against women and children when they attend the UN Commission on the Status of Women session (CSW) in New York in February 2011.

In the co-operation programme, called 'Equality, creating a sustainable society', there is an important place for co-operation on gender equality with Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Northwest Russia.

Recently the Nordic countries, with Iceland in top place, ranked highest in the World Economic Forum's Gender Gap Report of the countries with the highest level of gender equality, which makes the Nordic region the most gender equal region in the world. The Nordic gender equality ministers hope that the new co-operation programme will lead to a continuation of this position.

When Finland takes over the Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2011, climate and gender equality, and the new co-operation programme for gender equality, will be the areas of hightest priority for Nordic gender equality work in 2011. Stefan Wallin, Finnish Minister for Gender Equality made this clear when he presented the Finnish Programme for the Presidency in Copenhagen.