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Director General Arni Hole Ministry of Children and Equality: “Concerning Gender Politics, Frameworks and Possibilities”. ‘Making a difference in theory and practice’, the 2nd Gender and Forestry Conference. Umeå, Sweden, June 15th 2009. Modern Gender Equality Policies deals with both genders.
‘Making a difference in theory and practice’, the 2nd Gender and Forestry Conference.Umeå, Sweden, June 15th 2009
You will not succeed unless you address gender stereotypes
among both genders. Or collectively shared stereotypes and
images of genders, called “culture and tradition”.
Culture or tradition can never excuse inequality between the
genders or gender based discrimination !
The women and girls do always initiate the actions and address
However, unless you invite men and boys onboard, you will
experience having almost half of the population “outside” the
common understanding of the challenges and meet resistance.
important issue, always rest on the party rising the issue.
In our context: The women and girls.
(Rather, it should be the party who resists Gender Equality or
does not see it as important, that should “prove” why not so….)
To arm yourself with the necessary arguments, tools and
weapons, you need accurate evidence and statistics. Any sound
gender policy, rests on solid facts and the logic of coherent
It is never enough to plead unfairness or “for the sake of
In economic life, one simply has to find the buttons of “ added
value” and why gender equality is smart economy.
The Human Rights arguments (based upon HR-conventions and
covenants), ethical and philosophical views must of course be
included in the basic argumentation
describes tasks. National work on gender and forestry is listed
and recommendation given.
But who is committed ? Who is accountable ?
What about the “forestry males “ who still own the power
of definition in the sector ? How should they be addressed ?
These questions remains to be answered thoroughly.
Unless one commits national governments and industry/sectorial
stakeholders, one will not succeed. Accountability is the key.
Unless one develops measures for dialogues with the males, and
“proves” a win-win situation, one will not have any power
Maintaining forests , forestry and forest based industries, are intrinsic parts of many of our nations economic systems, but the importance reach further than that:
Can future issues be solved adequately and targets met without thorough gender analysis or gender budgeting ? Hardly.
Why are these informations important to develop sound and
sustainable politics in a certain sector ?
Developing sound and sustainable policies in any sector,
can only be done by including a thorough gender perspective
As long as the two genders are socialized differently and
subjects to certain historical and cultural stereotypes and beliefs,
different expectations and unequal chances, one needs the
The analyses must embrace both genders. The notion of gender
does not mean women.
How can any nation, any government, any sector, any industrial
enterprise – afford to loose out on talents – divided evenly
among the genders ?
How can any firm afford not to engage all the creativity it can
lay hands on ?
How can any industry or sector, loose the opportunity
to build a good reputation in the market
by not including gender issues ?
It depends on whether one wants mere equality in chances/ equal
opportunities or equality in results and outputs. (using affirmative actions)
or a mix of both.Norway has used the mix of both the last 30 years.
A core would always be, regardless of measures:
To eliminate cultural and traditional stereotypes that continues to
legitimize gender in-equality. To prove that such biases are bad for
societal development , economic competitiveness and
All cultures , traditions and religions in all types of societies have
When entering into cross-cultural dialogues, we have to respect traditions
and religions, but it is also our duty, in accordance with the CEDAW, the
CRC and other UN human rights convention, to point to the fact that all
people , regardless of gender have the right to participation in society,
freedom of speech, to gainful and paid work, to own or inherit property, to
reproductive health, the right to freedom from violence and so forth.
Women in Scandinavia and Europe still talk of the home and children as
“the women’s and mothers domain”, as if the women have a specific gene for
housework or child rearing, excluding the men as if not possessing a child-care
Women speak of “the husbands helping out in the house and with the
children”, Again, exclusion of the men, or men as mere “assistants” in the
house. As if the house work is not a shared responsibility, regardless of
gender. Women must let go, too.
The elite men of the upper echelons of economic life in Norway, exclaimed in
2003, when Parliament voted for gender balance quotas on boards of private
companies: Able women cannot be found, the women will not take on such
responsibilities, our firm will be broke or have to flee Norway as to prosper etc
etc. None of this was of course true. It was stereotyping.
you do not think it does. Many able, corporate males, do not
think they have biases.
Because the norm of a business human still is the
“ rational economic male”.
Important:We should avoid “essentialism” either way; the
notion of difference based upon an inherent “quality” or
disqualification, being born as biological women (or a man). The
issue is to change notions of historical and social gender , if
they are harmful and lead to discrimination and inequality.
We should also avoid speaking of “men as such ” as elite or
powerful, contrary to all women being some sort of victims. Few
men do have elite position and power ,world-wide. We have to
be aware of social class when we discuss gender issues.
1979: The Gender Equality Act, covering all sectors of society, giving protection especially to women from being discriminated against in all sectors; it simply forbids discrimination on the basis of gender.(implemented and enforced by the Anti-discrimination and Equality Ombud)
Mid-1980’s and 90’s: A gender perspective is introduced into the Rural Development Fund, and the County Governors are asked to report on gender disaggregated data annually. (Later Innovation Norway, the public investment bank, is taking over this funding, with the same requirements. Also IN is developing programs and measures directed directly towards female entrepreneurs etc)
2005: A new law governing cooperations in agribusiness, forestry, consumers’ and housing coop’s. A requirement of 40 % women when the business has 1000 members or more.(the same sanctions as for the public ltd companies)
From 2003 to 2008 we saw the increase from 7 % women to 40 % ,
on the boards of the Public Ltd.Companies (as mentioned above).
On an average: 43 % women in all the 4 mentioned types of companies.
The Coop’s are soon there.
We did not regulate the ordinary privately owned companies, all the
205 000 SME’s in Norway, but the effect of the quotas have been that
many private owners now “see” all the competent women and engage
them to board room strategic work.
We completely changed the male roles and models of masculinity when
introducing the fathers quota in the Parental Leave Scheme. After 16
years in action and expanded to 10 obligatory weeks, we can tell by
research, that this law also has changed the women’s and mothers roles
and how they perceive the balance between work and family life.
The National Employers Federation set up (2004) Female Future.
A programme to recruit and train women to board-room
work that has been very successful.
Similar programmes are set up in the public sectors, in the
financial sector etc , with great success.
Mentor- and adept programmes are set up in many sectors,
among others, by the Federation of Agro-business coops:
The “Take Grip” programme, covering 7 months with 3
gatherings and “home-work”, to meet the target of 40 % women
on the coops’ boards in 2009
Several databases with Women’s Curriculums are build: To pick from,
when you look for able women to be nominated for election to your board
or to invite to compete for top management positions.
agreements or Charters, not quotas (as in Denmark),
signed by employers (Unions) and employees federations and
the State. But they also need some sorts of “sanctions” if targets
are not met in time.
The buzzword is: Accountability by commitment and
accounting,numbers, and measuring, every year. Establish a
body for surveying and monitoring, for all actions taken or
programmes launched. Be sure to get public awareness of
your programme or action, however small. Then do the name
and blame – which is very bad for reputations !
Make the Governments reward universities and colleges that
recruit and retain women (Norway does).
Set up rewards and prices. Use the media and press to
launch, local media love these kind of competitions ! (In Norway
the annual price for the most family friendly firm receives a lot of
attention. One year it was Microsoft winning the price)
Campaigns in schools and municipalities are very effective, to
uncover stereotypes and show the significance of gender
segregated data. “Explorative-days “ can be set up and everyone
The County Governor of Hordaland (a county west in Norway),
set up a seminar programme in 2008 named “Women in
forestry”, backed by the argument that 22 % of forests in
Norway are owned by women, but women are almost invisible in
the forestry business. The forest coops cooperated with the
County Governor and both did fund the event.
system, accountability rules:
Who is accountable and what are the sanctions when targets are
not met ?
Who /what could be positive models and set examples ?
The road from well-meant rhetoric and dinner speeches - to
material results, is hard and demand devoted and systematic
work. It takes time. But learning from others is wise, as avoiding
re-inventing the wheel.
Good luck !