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Nordic focus on the gender effect of parental leave at CSW63


It’s only when women and men share family responsibilities equally that we can achieve economic gender equality. This is the message of the Nordic ministers for gender equality at the UN Commission on the Status of Women, CSW63. Iceland’s Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir will be initiating joint Nordic efforts to reach the UN Agenda 2030’s goal on gender equality.

The sixty-third session of the Commission on the Status of Women, CSW63, will take place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, starting March 11. This year CSW examines how countries can incorporate gender equality into their social protection infrastructures – a precondition for ensuring women and men’s equal rights. NIKK will be there following the debates and The Nordic ministers are hosting several events.

Social infrastructure plays a crucial role

How a country’s social infrastructure is built up is crucial for gender equality. The Nordic countries can evidence the results of decades of investment in childcare, care for the elderly, and parental leave. It is, among other things, greater participation of women in the labor market, more men taking parental leave that anywhere else in the world, and a substantial boost to the growth in GDP.

“Generous shared parental leave and universal childcare are investments that can help to ensure a better future for all of us”, says Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister of Iceland, the country which has topped the Global Gender Gap Index for ten consecutive years.

Economic equality requires equality at home

Although the Nordic region has advanced infrastructure for gender equality, even Nordic moms are affected by “the motherhood penalty” – women’s economic loss through becoming a parent. The right to paid parental leave is important, but especially if this is shared equally between parents. Women and men need to #SharetheCare. Closing the gender pay gap between parents requires an equal distribution of responsibility for children, unpaid housework, and family responsibility, as indicated by research. This will be the topic of the Nordic ministers for gender equality’s debate at the UN on 12 March. With particular emphasis on men and fathers, the ministers will debate which political instruments are required to achieve full gender equality. The debate will be livestreamed by UN Web TV.

On March 13 a Nordic panel of experts will also discuss solutions to the pension gap between men and women. The Nordic governments are also preparing to give a joint statement at this year’s CSW to mark their commitment to and active support of the gender equality goal in the UN Agenda 2030.