Violent masculinity should be shameful in our societies. Therefore, men and boys should become our allies in the fight to combat violence against women, says UN Deputy Secretary General of the UN, Jan Eliasson, on Wednesday, when he opened the Nordic Council of Ministers' ministerial debate on the theme of violence against women in conjunction with the annual meeting of the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York.
Deputy Secretary General of the UN, Jan Eliasson encouraged the Nordic countries in the work on gender equality
Swedish Minister, Maria Arnholm, Chair of the Nordic Council of Ministers for Gender Equality, underlined that preventative efforts must be taken to improve gender equality in general and also to reach repeat offenders of violence.
Arnholm pointed out that experiences prove that policies that aim to include men are more effective than policies that only focus on women.
"We see that measures which increase the involvement of men in household chores and child care reduce the risk of violence in relationships. So all the Nordic countries are now moving towards more equality in parental leave", say Arnholm.
Inga Marte Thorkildsen, Norwegian Minister of Children and Equality, stressed that women tend to consider the way they feel about themselves based on their gender while men see themselves firstly as individuals.
"It is dangerous to think that we live in a completely equal society. We have to change power structures and stop blaming the victims instead of the perpetrators of violence," says Thorkildsen.
Paavo Arhinmäki, Finnish Minister of Culture and Sport and gender equality affairs, and the Danish Minister for Gender Equality and Ecclesiastical Affairs, Manu Sareen underlined the importance of close co-operation between the police and social workers.
"We must involve all parties to prevent and combat violence against women. It is important to strengthen positive attitudes and behaviour and raise awareness with woman and men", said Arhinmäki.
The UN Commission on the Status of Women's 57th Session runs until 15 March in New York. Nordic co-operation on gender equality will be highlighted this week at a number of national and Nordic events. Follow the Nordic ministers in New York on www.norden.org/csw57 and on Twitter, @nordenen.