Norway to strengthen international efforts to support women’s rights and gender equality

The new Action Plan for Women’s Rights and Gender Equality in Foreign and Development Policy sets out a framework for incorporating gender equality as a priority area in Norwegian foreign policy.

Today, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs presented Norway’s new action plan for promoting women’s rights and gender equality in the international arena. The new action plan establishes the importance of focusing on gender equality as a priority area.

‘This action plan underlines Norway’s wide-ranging commitment to the fight for women’s rights and gender equality, both nationally and internationally. We are working together with our capable partners to create a world that is more equitable, and thus more just,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.

Promoting women’s rights is part and parcel of the efforts to preserve biological diversity, advance sustainable management of resources, and address the need for climate action and food security.

‘Women’s rights are obviously fundamental human rights, but progress towards gender equality is also smart economics. We cannot resolve the challenges the world is facing today regarding food security, conflict and climate change without the full and equal participation of women and men, girls and boys,’ said Minister of International Development Anne Beathe Tvinnereim.

In some places there has been growing tendency towards curbing the right of women and girls to decide their own futures. The Minister of International Development has outlined a number of measures designed to strengthen international acceptance of sexual and reproductive rights, to ensure that all women have access to contraceptives and safe abortions, and to provide children and young people with sexuality education in and outside school programmes. No one should be subjected to sexual and gender-based violence, child- or forced marriage, or genital mutilation.

‘In light of this increasing resistance, it is more important than ever to support the SRHR agenda to safeguard universal respect for human rights. Norway will continue to be at the forefront of efforts to promote the right of women and girls to decide over their own bodies,’ said Ms Tvinnereim.

The action plan also sets out steps that Norway will take to ensure the right of all people to decent work and trade union membership, and to promote equal rights to inheritance and ownership and access to financial resources and services. Norway will work to ensure access for all to education that can lead to paid work, as well as access for women to the skills they need to play an active role in society. Norway will also strive to lay down a strong normative framework for women’s rights and gender equality in order to increase women’s representation and influence in political processes, and to enhance the safety of human rights defenders.

‘Norway seeks to ensure that all people, regardless of gender, have the right and opportunity to decide over their own bodies and futures, and to live a life free of violence and with equal economic and political rights,’ said Mr Eide.