Women’s organisations and networks

Published under: Stoltenberg's 2nd Government

Publisher Ministry of Foreign Affairs

An active civil society is of crucial importance for true democracy and development. Voluntary organisations and other civil society organisations play an important role by supplementing public-sector services and by mobilising women and raising their awareness.

An active civil society is of crucial importance for true democracy and development. Voluntary organisations and other civil society organisations play an important role by supplementing public-sector services and by mobilising women and raising their awareness.

They also act as watchdogs, monitoring the activities of the authorities and holding them responsible for meeting the goals and commitments they have taken on at national and international level. Contact and cooperation with NGOs and civil society generally form one of the mainstays of development cooperation – and women’s organisations are especially important.

Women’s liberation and gender equality would never have made so much progress in Norway if  women had not joined forces – together with the men who supported them – and fought for social change. In keeping with our own experience, the Norwegian Government supports positive forces for change in civil society as part of its development policy. We also highlight the importance of working with and ensuring the participation of civil society in our dialogue with authorities in Norway’s partner countries. All groups need a sense of ownership of the development process – women and men, girls and boys, civil society and public authorities, ministries responsible for gender equality as well as finance and planning ministries.

Many Norwegian women’s organisations and research institutes have accumulated experience and knowledge and developed contacts that are useful in the work of promoting women’s rights and gender equality. The Forum for Women and Development (Fokus) is particularly important, as it is an umbrella organisation for more than 70 women’s organisations that are working with partner organisations in developing countries.

FOKUS is an important partner in Norway’s initiatives for women’s rights and gender equality, and the present Government has considerably increased the level of support to the organisation during its term of office. Norway also supports international NGOs that work in this field. These organisations play an important role vis-à-vis multilateral institutions. They have important networks and are vital channels for information and influence for women’s organisations at national level.