Gender equality is about sharing power and influence equally, with women/girls and men/boys enjoying the same rights, duties and opportunities in all areas of life. Gender equality also presupposes a society free of gender-related violence. An overarching gender-equality policy that covers both women and men is needed in order to achieve an equal and just society.
Inter-governmental work on gender equality is the remit of the Nordic Council of Ministers for Gender Equality (MR-JÄM), which consists of the national ministers responsible for gender equality. The ministers meet at least once a year for talks and to make decisions in areas where working together will achieve more than the individual countries on their own – this is known as Nordic synergy.
The Committee of Senior Officials for Gender Equality (ÄK-JÄM), which consists of representatives of the five nation states plus Greenland, the Faroe Islands and Åland, meets at least three times a year. It takes care of the practical work and preparations for meetings of MR-JÄM.
The Nordic Council of Ministers’ Secretariat in Copenhagen is responsible for the day-to-day running of inter-governmental co-operation. The Secretariat also houses the Department for Culture and Resources, which prepares questions for submission to and discussion by MR-JÄM. The Secretariat is also responsible for implementing decisions once they have been taken.
The Nordic Council of Ministers is actively involved in co-operation with the adjacent areas: from the Baltic countries, to North-West Russia, the Arctic and the Barents. Every second year, the Nordic Committee of Senior Officials for Gender Equality meet their colleagues from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to discuss joint priorities. Nordic co-operation on gender issues also seeks to make an impact at international level, e.g. by attending the annual meetings of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).
Objectives and vision
The overarching political framework for Nordic gender-equality work is the 2015–2018 programme for co-operation, which is supplemented by annual action plans. The co-operation programme 2015-2018 has two overarching themes: the public sphere, and welfare and innovation. There are also two horizontal themes: sustainable development with a focus on diversity, and active participation by men and boys in gender-equality work. Gender mainstreaming is also part of the strategy to implement the programme.
Priorities and outcomes
The Nordic Council of Ministers for Gender Equality (MR-JÄM) will continue to work towards integrating a gender and equality perspective into all areas of society.
Within the framework of the theme concerning the public sphere, the Nordic countries, the Faroes Islands, Greenland and Åland will seek to ensure that:
- Women and men have equal access to and opportunities to influence and participate in decision-making processes and in the design of the Nordic welfare societies
- Women and men in the Nordic countries have equal access to and opportunities to participate in the media
- The sexualisation of public space is counteracted
- Resistance to gender equality is countered, as is gender-based hate speech.
Within the framework of the welfare and innovation theme, the Nordic countries, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland will seek to ensure that:
- Women and men and girls and boys in the Nordic Region enjoy equal opportunities in education, training and research and in developing their personal ambitions, interests and abilities
- Women and men in the Nordic Region have equal opportunities to reconcile family life and work
- There will be a zero-tolerance approach to gender-related violence
- That women and men, girls and boys have equal access to health care, social services and opportunities for good health and well-being.