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Nordic support for new UN entity for gender equality

The Nordic countries support the setting up of a new UN entity for gender equality and the advancement of women. This was apparent when the Nordic ministers for gender equality spoke at the UN Session of Commission on the Status of Women (CSW54) and participated in a Nordic fringe event on Tuesday 2 March.

03.03.2010

CSW54 in New York

Photographer
Silje Bergum Kinsten/norden.org

The ministers for gender equality gave their support for establishing a special gender equality entity in the UN quickly when they spoke to the plenary during the CSW54 on Tuesday. Combating violence against women was another topic raised by all the Nordic ministers in their speeches. This subject is high on the Nordic gender equality agenda.

At a Nordic fringe event following the plenary session, Stefan Wallin from Finland, Árni Páll Árnason from Iceland, Audun Bjørlo Lysbakken from Norway, Nyamko Sabuni from Sweden and Senior Adviser to the Danish Minister for Gender Equality, Kira Appell, presented the Nordic results and challenges in gender equality policies since the UN's Conference on Women in Beijing, 1995.

Combating violence against women and trafficking were given new focus during the Nordic seminar on Tuesday. There are still major unsolved challenges in the Nordic countries and the rest of the world.

"Violence against women is also a question of democracy", said Nyamko Sabuni to the packed room in the UN on Tuesday.

Both the Swedish and the Icelandic ministers for gender equality emphasised parental leave as an important reason that gender equality has moved forward as much as it has in the Nordic countries.

"The Icelandic model of fathers' quota gives the man the opportunity to take a greater responsibility for the home and family. And this leads us to a new challenge which we have not yet solved - harmonisation of the salary gap between men and women", said Árni Páll Árnason on Tuesday.

The Norwegian Minister for Gender Equality referred, for example, to the focus on men as a major step forward in Nordic gender equality activities and said that he wanted to expand the Norwegian fathers' quota.

The Finnish minister, Stefan Wallin, focused on the importance of breaking down stereotype ideas of education, jobs and the role of women with children and young people.

"It is important to teach girls and boys, women and men that no-one is forced to live up to the stereotype female ideal", said Wallin on Tuesday.

Denmark highlighted that sex segregation in education and the labour market were crucial for women and men's equal opportunities in family and working life.

"Equal opportunities and economic independence are essential for achieving equality between women and men in our society. All talents must play their part", said Kira Appel Senior Adviser to the Danish Minister for Gender Equality.

The Nordic Council of Ministers for Gender Equality organised a minister seminar at the UN on Tuesday 2 March. On Friday March 5, a Nordic expert seminar will discuss the theme: Practical results and the challenges facing gender equality in the Nordic countries since the UN's Conference on Women, Beijing 1995. CSW54 marks the fifteenth anniversary of the Beijing platform.