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Iceland’s Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers 2023

The Presidency of the Nordic co-operation rotates yearly between its five member countries. In 2023, Iceland is leading the work of the Nordic Council of Ministers. In the gender equality and LGBTI area, particular emphasis is being placed this year on initiatives for a socially sustainable Nordic region, the rights of LGBTI people and the gender perspective on climate work.

“The Nordic countries are at their strongest when they stand together. Nordic co-operation generates concrete results and builds bridges between our inhabitants. This is especially true in the area of gender equality, where the Nordic countries have co-operated successfully over many years, generating a rich store of knowledge.”  

So says Iceland’s Prime Minister, Katrín Jakobsdottír, who has made it clear that gender equality and LGBTI issues are one of the cornerstones of Nordic co-operation when she launched the presidency at the beginning of the year.  In particular, Jakobsdottír emphasised that work to improve the living conditions of LGBTI people needs to be strengthened in several areas.  

“We want to focus on the rights of LGBTI people, where we have seen backsliding in the Nordic countries and other parts of the world in recent years. We need to use our strong, joint Nordic voice to counter the dangerous decline that has occurred.” 

Focus on transpersons’ rights during the year 

During the year, projects are being carried out on the conditions of transgender persons in working life and a project on the living conditions of older LGBTI people, which was initiated by the Norwegian Presidency in 2022 and will be completed this year. Both projects are important for identifying needs and communicating knowledge and conclusions.  

Within the LGBTI group, transgender persons are particularly vulnerable, and we are therefore emphasising their rights in our Presidency project, which focuses on the conditions for transgender persons in working life. 

The Nordic Council of Ministers has a clear vision that the Nordic region is to become the most integrated region. In 2022, the Nordic Ministers for Gender Equality established a Nordic roadmap (Pushing back the push-back: Nordic Roadmap on advancing gender equality, women’s and girls’ rights, and equal rights of LGBTI persons) with the aim of acting against and reacting to the antigender movement that has emerged in the Nordic countries as well as globally. 

At the meeting of the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York (CSW67) in March, the Nordic Ministers for Gender Equality met to discuss a Nordic solution so that everyone can live a life free from sexual harassment, abuse and violence in the digital world. 

During her year as President of the Nordic Council of Ministers, Katrín Jakobsdottír will work to integrate the gender dimension into work with innovation and technology.  

“Gender equality must remain a top priority when it comes to innovation and technological change. No country has eradicated gender inequality and if we don’t have policies in store, we risk that existing biases might be further established in the digital space. We need to take action to make innovation and technological change work for all of us. By embedding gender in innovation and technology development, investing in feminist innovation and tech, dismantling gender stereotypes and educating and empowering women I believe innovation and technological change can contribute to a better, more inclusive, society.” 

Updated 2 May 2023