The Nordic ministers for gender equality are meeting in Oslo today, a city where two people were shot dead and 26 were injured during this summer’s Pride.
This is an example of exactly the sometimes violent backlash that the ministers want to combat.
Time to be clear
“We’re seeing a widespread backlash against gender equality and LGBTI rights both in the Nordic Region and worldwide. Our words couldn’t be clearer: This is unacceptable. Instead, we must continue the positive development for equality,” says Anette Trettebergstuen, Norway’s Minister of Culture and Equality and host of the meeting.
Women, girls, and LGBTI people
Already a year ago, the ministers began to discuss the backlash against gender equality in general, and in particular against the rights of girls, women, and LGBTI people.
Over the past year, the Nordic ministers for gender equality have been preparing their response to this backlash and opposition.
Opposition must be quashed
At their meeting in Oslo, the ministers for gender equality adopted the two-year plan “Pushing back the push-back, a Nordic Roadmap” alongside funding of DKK 500,000.
In the plan, the ministers write that “resistance to gender equality, women’s and girls’ rights, and equal rights for LGBTI people is well-organised, well-financed, and well-co-ordinated.”
“For me, it was a surprise to see how co-ordinated the opposition is to universal human rights. Even in Finland we can see the same trends, despite the fact that we’re a democratic nation with high ambitions for gender equality,” says Thomas Blomqvist, Finland’s Minister for Nordic Co-operation and Equality.
The plan is to speak out more often with a united Nordic voice on gender equality and rights issues, and thereby pile on the pressure at various international negotiations and venues.
Key role for the Nordic Region to play
The plan also contains the potential to arrange debates or provide knowledge material, perhaps in the form of a handbook for Nordic embassies around the world featuring Nordic positions and examples.
“It’s important that the Nordic countries take on this role since we have a good reputation when it comes to gender equality and LGBTI rights,” says Trine Bramsen, Denmark’s Minister for Equal Opportunities.