CSW: National statement - Norway

Statement at the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women by Minister of Children and Equality Ms. Linda Hofstad Helleland

I grew up in a small rural village in Norway, and today, I am member of a gender balanced government.

This is possible when women are given the same opportunities as men.

Still, even in our prosperous and gender equal country, men dominate positions of power. We see it in finance, lawfirms, academia, and in our main rural industries – fisheries and agriculture. Where power and money dominate – men prevail.

Rural women worldwide work within agriculture, mostly as smallholders. But they lack access to land, credit, health care, education and power.

Women for the large part produce raw materials and have poor access to resources to increase the value of their products.

If women had the same access to productive resources as men, they could increase yields on their farms by 20–30 percent.

This would have a tremendous effect outside the individual family. Children would, to a larger extent, be able to get an education and contribute to society in the long run.

We must scale up successful examples. InnovAfrica is a project where Norway works in close cooperation with partners from Europe and Africa. It has shown that by implementing a well-defined strategy, women's participation in decision-making can be improved by almost 30 percent.

Poverty has the face of a woman. Six out of ten of the 815 million hungry people around the world are women and girls. Indigenous and ethnic minority women and women with disabilities are the furthest behind.

We know what it takes to change this. The sustainable development goals is an action plan that all countries have to act on.

Empowerment of women and girls through education is key.

The right of all girls and women to make decisions about their own sexuality and body is crucial.

Comprehensive sexuality education is essential.

We can never accept that religion and so-called traditional values are used as an excuse to deprive women of their rights.

Together, we must put an end to early and forced  marriages. Child marriage has fatal consequences for the too young mothers, for the babies – and for the well-being of entire countries.

As a champion for the She Decides movement, my message is that all girls and women have the right to decide about their own bodies.

The marginalisation and discrimination of rural women are strong impediments to development.

We know that investment in girls and women has a positive effect on productivity, sustainable economic growth and eradication of poverty.

We know that promotion and protection of human rights is not a product of – but a significant contributor to development. And that countries that deny women their rights, deny their societies prosperity.

Thank you!

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