The #MeToo movement has turned the Nordic Region on its head, uncovering systematic failures, a lack of leadership, and ignorance in many parts of our society in a somewhat dramatic fashion. Several different movements gained traction in the Nordic countries, with the cultural sector often in the spotlight.
Nordic Information on Gender (NIKK) has charted current legislation and protection in the workplace in the Nordic Region with regard to sexual harassment. The conclusion is simple – sexual harassment is illegal. In all the Nordic countries, employers have a duty to prevent and take action in cases of sexual harassment. Although legislation on sexual harassment in the Nordic Region is strict when compared with other parts of the world, it’s clear that many workplaces have, quite simply, broken the law. We must continue to discuss how this is even possible in 2018, and how we can bring about change.
We, the Nordic ministers for culture, are determined to do everything we can to bring this change to pass. We have so much to learn from each other’s experiences, and so going forwards our emphasis will continue to be on discussion, be this at a national, Nordic, or international level. And these discussions will command equal importance in all our areas of responsibility – culture, media, and sport.
This is not just a matter of non-discrimination, but also of gender equality more broadly. Gender equality is key to the success of the Nordic Model, and so it’s obvious that a gender equality perspective must shape everything we do within the Nordic Council of Ministers for Culture. What is also obvious is that there is much more to be achieved from Nordic co-operation, which is why we are instructing our Secretariat to explore ways in which the discussion can evolve with regard to efforts to prevent sexual harassment and to ensure safe workplaces within our areas of responsibility.
And even if momentum wanes, we will see this issue through to the end.