Women in Power and Decision-making: Making a world of difference

Innlegg under sesjon 2 ”Tricks of the trade: Lessons learned on 20 years of women’s leadership”

Hvor: Centro Cultural Esación Mapocho, Santiago de Chile 

Når: Fredag 27. februar 2015


Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,


Thank you so much for inviting to this High Level Event. It is a great honour to be here in Santiago and to participate in these important discussions. I’m looking forward to sharing experiences and ideas with all of you. 

As many of you have mentioned, this year is a very important year with regard to women’s rights. 20 years after Beijing, it is time to review status and to look forward. 

Norway is among the three most gender equal countries in the world. Gender equality has been a goal since the early 1980s for all Norwegian governments. 

We have come a long way towards gender equality –

with a universal welfare system –

and a wide range of publically financed services –

especially in education, health and care.

Women’s active participation in the workforce is the basis of our welfare state. 

In Norway today there are more girls than boys who complete higher education. Women in Norway have one of the highest rates of paid employment in the world. Norwegian women work almost as much as men. 

What makes Norwegian women able to participate so actively in the formal workforce? 

One reason is that Norway has a generous parental benefit scheme. Parents can stay at home with small children for a year with full pay. The parental leave is shared between mothers and fathers. Shared family responsibilities strengthen women’s position in the labour market. 

We also have full coverage of kindergartens at a subsidised price. This system makes it possible for both women and men to combine work and family life. 

But even so, choices of education and careers are still gender-typical – resulting in a gender divided labour market. For example, finance business and engineering are still dominated by men. Therefore we need to nudge women and men in new directions. 

Talents and abilities are equally divided between women and men. If girls and women do not have the same access to education, jobs and leading positions as men, we will not make use of all of society’s talents and resources. 

Women’s empowerment is closely linked to economic development and prosperity. Education and better jobs for women lead to higher wages and better decision making. 

My government has made girls’ education a top priority in our development cooperation. 

Ladies and gentlemen – there is one topic I want to underline today. It is that gender equality is also about absence of violence. 

Violence results in inequality in power and reduces any person’s opportunities to exercise their human rights. 

The costs of gender based violence are high – not only for the victims, but also for society as a whole. Even in Norway, gender based violence is still a major problem. 

Equality between women and men is not only a good investment. It is also a human right.

A right that we must cherish and protect.

Every day. 

Thank you.

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