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Green transition and LGBTI focus as Norway takes charge

Every year, the Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers and thereby leadership of efforts to promote gender equality rotate among the five member countries. In 2022, Norway is at the helm. The Presidency’s functions include leading initiatives in climate and gender equality policy and enhancing the health and wellbeing of LGBTI people. For succeeding with equality-projects, collaboration among various sectors of society is vital, says Siw Ellefsen (ÄK-JÄM).

In January, representatives of business, authorities and civil society gathered at a roundtable discussion in Oslo. The aim was to help build alliances to boost awareness of the connection between climate and gender equality policy ­­— one of several priority areas for the Nordic Ministers for Gender Equality and LGBTI (MR-JÄM). The Nordic Co-Operation Programme on Gender Equality and its supplement for the LGBTI area lays particular emphasis on the importance of involving multiple sectors, to provide more perspectives on complex issues and create a broad base, so that results and knowledge summaries from all the projects reach more recipients in the community.

“Gender equality policy doesn’t take place in a vacuum. Instead, it’s vital for our efforts to be made in collaboration with important sectors of society, such as the areas of education and healthcare, in the world of work and in the legal system. Only through goal-oriented, long-term and systematic cooperation will we achieve lasting results,” says Siw Ellefsen, section head at the Ministry of Culture and Gender Equality in Norway, and member of the Nordic Committee of Senior Officials for Gender Equality and LGBTI (ÄK-JÄM).

International contribution to gender equality

The roundtable discussion on green transition in Oslo was a pre-meeting for the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York, where the Nordic ministers for gender equality and LGBTI joined a ministerial panel with the same theme. The ministers also presented a declaration of their commitment to joining in the endeavour to bring about a green, gender-equal Nordic region that was handed over to UN Women’s Executive Director Sima Sami Bahous.

“The Nordic Council of Ministers is an outstanding platform for cooperation, knowledge exchange and communication vis-à-vis a global public as well. UN Women and Bahous have called for a greater Nordic commitment to promote gender equality internationally. The Nordic region has assumed this responsibility, and we’re prepared to make our contribution over the coming years,” Ellefsen says.

Investigating health and social care for LGBTI elderly

The current programme period for Nordic co-operation in the areas of gender equality will continue until year-end 2024. LGBTI issues are integral to long-term efforts for equality of opportunity in the Nordic region. This year, a project will be launched to enhance openness and improve the quality of life for older LGBTI people, with a special focus on health and care work.

“Surveys clearly indicate that for LGBTI, the quality of life is lower than for the rest of the population. In the Nordic setting, we have focused on children and young LGBTI people. However, there’s abundant evidence that it’s tough being older, openly queer and in need of public healthcare services,” Ellefsen says.

The Living Conditions and Quality of Life for Older LGBTI People project is to be implemented in collaboration with the Nordic Council of Ministers for Health and Social Affairs (MR-S). Nordic Information for Gender (NIKK) has been commissioned to run the project, and the results will be presented during a final conference in Iceland, in 2023.

Several other projects are due to start during the Norwegian Presidency. Examples include one on gender equality in fisheries and marine aquaculture and a conference on workplace gender equality to be held in Oslo on 27 September. The research initiative on sexual harassment in working life continues and, with a focus on young men’s mental ill health, a research overview will be compiled by 2023. NIKK is administering and producing knowledge overviews in several of the projects. Read more about the NIKK projects during Norway’s Presidency in 2022.

Siw Ellefsen. Photo: Kultur- og likestillingsdepartementet

Updated 18 May 2022