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“No one is liberated until everyone is liberated” – Summing up Norway’s Presidency in 2022

Norway’s Presidency in 2022 focused on making the Nordic countries greener and more gender-equal, with a particular emphasis on the workplace and opposition to gender equality and LGBTI rights. “Together, the Nordic countries can speak with a much stronger voice than these countries and regions can do alone. Nobody is liberated until everyone is liberated,” says Norwegian Minister for Culture and Equality Anette Trettebergstuen.

Norway took over the presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2022. Minister of Culture and Equality Anette Trettebergstuen summarises the year in which the Commission on the Status of Women conference was held in New York with its aim of strengthening climate policy. The report How climate policies impact gender and vice versa in the Nordic countries concluded that the gender dimension was largely lacking in national climate policy in the Nordic countries.

Increase women’s influence in the green transition

Moving forward, the Nordic countries’ ministers for gender equality want to increase knowledge and raise awareness so as to target climate policy more accurately, and to avoid the green transition deepening gender inequality in the Nordic countries. The meeting focused in particular on work to reduce the vulnerabilities of women and girls to climate change, and to increase their influence on climate policy.
– Women and men work in different industries and have different levels of purchasing power; and they have different lifestyles, attitudes and priorities. This means that as groups, women and men are going to be affected differently by climate change and climate policy unless we take the gender dimension into account. Women must be involved in shaping the big decisions we are facing as part of the green transition, and we must ensure that we use the green transition to engender a positive trend in the area of gender equality rather than setbacks. This should also be a global focus, says Trettebergstuen.

A green and gender-equal Nordic region

The year’s primary effort for a green and gender-equal Nordic region has been to focus greater attention on and increase understanding of the connection between gender equality policy and climate policy. During the 2022 UN climate summit (COP27), an official side event was organised by the Environment and climate policy area within the Nordic Council of Ministers, in conjunction with the African Union and UN Women.
– It’s useful to share experiences concerning how we are affected by climate change in different regions of the world. Measures and solutions for the future of education and the labour market were also discussed in parallel at a Nordic conference in Oslo in cooperation with the Working life policy area,” explains Trettebergstuen. “We are also conducting a knowledge development project to map the gender distribution in parts of the blue economy, which refers to fisheries and aquaculture, in the Nordic countries. This will give us an even better knowledge base for the future.

“Oslo was hit hard”

During the year, the Nordic Ministers for Gender Equality met in Oslo, the city where two people were shot dead and 26 were injured during the Pride festival. In order to respond to growing opposition to gender equality and the rights of LGBTI people in particular, the Nordic Ministers for Gender Equality decided at the meeting on a two-year plan entitled Pushing back the push-back – a Nordic Roadmap. The roadmap describes more coordinated and vigorous efforts and is a step in the right direction towards a more proactive Nordic gender equality policy in the future.
– We live in a time when these rights are being actively opposed in various parts of the world. Oslo as a whole and many individuals were hit hard by the terrible event at this year’s Pride festival. In the Nordic countries, we are at the forefront of gender equality and freedom for all and must speak with a clear voice when attempts are made to frustrate the enjoyment of fundamental human rights. Together, the Nordic countries can speak with a much stronger voice than these countries and regions can do alone. No one is liberated until everyone is liberated, says Trettebergstuen.

Measures for equality in the workplace

No individual’s opportunities in the education system or the workplace should be limited due to restrictive gender norms and prejudices. The conference on working life A gender-equal Nordic region – measures and solutions for the future of education and the workplace focused on how the Nordic countries ensure that education and the labour market promote gender equality and combat discrimination. “Gender equality is an end in itself and a key means of achieving a sustainable and competitive labour market,” Trettebergstuen stresses.
– Gender equality is about justice and women’s representation in the power structures of the society. We know that gender equality pays off and that workplaces benefit from diversity. In the Nordic countries, there are good measures in place at the central and local government levels which can help to combat gender segregation in educational choices and gender segregation in the labour market. We must facilitate mutual learning, cooperation and sharing experience. We need more men working in health and social care, and more women in the industrial, technological and energy sectors. This is important for the success of the green transition.

Handing over with pride to Iceland

Trettebergstuen is proud that interdisciplinary collaborations have been strengthened during Norway’s 2022 Presidency. She emphasises that it is crucial that gender equality efforts garner support in other industries and disciplines in order to achieve good, long-term results.
– We have worked well with several Councils of Ministers, including those responsible for education, health, employment, culture, fisheries and the maritime environment, and the climate and environment. A number of the projects we initiated will continue for several years. These include efforts to improve knowledge of the quality of life and living conditions of LGBTI people. This year, we have focused on older LGBTI people, which complements previous efforts and contributes to a knowledge base for LGBTI people that encompasses the whole of a person’s lifetime. We greatly appreciate our good dialogue with Iceland, which will now take over the presidency for Nordic co-operation in the area of gender equality.

Updated 9 January 2023