The final document from Nordisk Forum- English version

3 Juli 2014
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NORDIC FORUM LAUNCHES NEW ACTION FOR WOMEN'S RIGHTS, GENDER EQUALITY

From 12 to 15 June 2014, almost 20 000 feminists met in Malmø, Sweden during the Nordic Forum, to shape new strategies towards the realisation of equality between women and men, in the framework of the discussions on the 20 years of the Beijing Platform for Action.

20 years after the first Nordic Forum "Women’s Life and Work - Joy and Freedom" in 1994 in Finland, and 10 years after the Nordic seminar "Equal opportunities - for WoMen", the event was initiated by the nordic womens organisations and saw the participation of dozens of Nordic organisations from all fields, dedicated to gender equality and women’s empowerment, as well as representatives from numerous different sectors including activist networks, government, academia and private enterprise.

During 4 days, women and men committed to or interested in women’s rights had the opportunity to discuss with new partners, discover new perspectives, debate issues, attend artistic performances, participate to the parade, call on their national representatives and propose ideas and actions. All issues were explored and addressed, following the 12 critical areas of the Beijing Platform for Action, as well as new emerging issues such as migration, men, everyday sexism, prostitution, arts or media.

The Nordic Forum ended up with an outcome document, delivered to the Nordic Ministers for gender equality during the closing ceremony.

“The Nordic women’s movement is putting forward 63 points that we want our countries to fulfill. It’s time for action… now ! But the work on gender equality does not end there. Nordiskt Forum has been a fantastic meeting, with nearly 20 000 visitors. We’re convinced that all these people will be taking home new ideas and strategies for the future. This is a united force that will influence our public agencies, civil society, trade unions, municipalities and businesses", says Gertrud Åström, Chair of Sweden’s Women’s Lobby. 

The 63 demands from the Nordisk Forum Final Document :

1. Feminist economy - economic and social development

We demand that:

• The Nordic countries’ national budgets, and municipal and regional budgets integrate a gender equality perspective, so that gender equality is shown in financial documents and decisions, and that the equality policy goals are systematically followed up and used as a basis for new measures, and are included in the Post-2015 agenda.

• Nordic authorities promote women’s economic independence and rights, including access to paid work and satisfactory working conditions, and observe the particular needs of vulnerable groups.

• Nordic governments implement tangible measures and follow up the work to reduce income differences between women and men.

• Unpaid care work is shown and reflected in economic models and is observed in social planning.

• Global financial crises are analysed from a gender perspective in terms of both causes and consequences, and that welfare services are maintained to protect women’s economic independence.

 

 

 

2. Women’s and girls’ bodies – sexuality, reproductive rights and health

We demand that:

• Funding is allocated to gender-specific research and knowledge of how illness affects women, including menstruation and menstruation-related disorders, follow-up of women with cancer diagnoses (particularly breast and uterine cancer) and well-supported measures including preventive health care and treatment of women’s disorders.

• The Nordic governments and responsible authorities ensure equality between the genders in diagnoses, investigation, treatment and follow-up of disorders in view of the particular needs of different groups. Adapted health care for women with disabilities is needed.

• Health care and the legal system take women’s experiences of undesired sexual acts, assault and violence seriously and with respect for the individual’s integrity and legal rights.

• The Nordic governments and responsible authorities guarantee obligatory sex education of good quality, modern and accessible contraceptives, legal and safe abortions and births, with respect for the woman’s wishes and needs.

• Nordic authorities fulfill their important commitment to women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), including questions of LGBT and surrogate motherhood, in the health-related Millennium goals and in the work on Post-2015.

 

 

3. Women in the workplace, equal pay, education and career

We demand that:

• Women’s right to equal pay is strengthened, and the opportunities for women to be financially independent and self-supporting are improved considerably through tanglible structural measures. The Nordic governments, employer organisations and trade organisations work to promote working life that considers family life and actual working environment and creates reasonable working conditions. The right to full-time employment is increased by legislation or agreements in the countries where women’s involuntary part-time employment is widespread. The option of voluntary part-time employment is given. Uncertain employment positions in the form of hourly-based work and fixed-term employment positions are regulated so that abuse is stopped.

• The Nordic governments prioritise structural measures so that financial independence after retirement is secured.

• The Nordic governments implement a parent insurance system that leads to equal responsibility of women and men for care of children, and to ensure that state-run child and elderly care of high quality is guaranteed.

• Responsible authorities ensure that educational materials are quality assured from a gender-equality perspective, and that active work is carried out to break gender-stereotypical educational choices and thereby to break down a gender-segregated labour market.

• The Nordic governments prioritise women’s opportunities for careers in research. Various funding initiatives for centres of excellence must not divert funds from women-dominated educational and research areas. Women’s educational choices, regardless of specialisation, should be guaranteed equivalent resources.

 

 

4. Violence against women and girls

We demand that:

• The Nordic governments ratify the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (the Istanbul Convention). The police and legal system is trained in matters of violence against women, and resources are allocated to crime fighting and prosecution.

• In every Nordic country, an independent national rapporteur is appointed for trafficking in human beings who works closely with civil society, and particularly with women’s organisations.

• The Nordic governments strengthen organisations that work for, and with, women’s rights to freedom from violence, and allocate sufficient and predictable resources, particularly to women’s support units/sheltered accommodation. Long-term action plans based on a holistic view, with clear goals and adequate resources, are needed to prevent and reduce men’s violence against women and to protect vulnerable women.

• Nordic authorities have greater focus on the basic causes of violence and assault. We propose national campaigns with a preventive focus, where society shows zero tolerance of violence and subordination of women, and work to counteract blame and shame. This is to include fundamental causes of violence and assault, and causes of women entering prostitution. Information about rights and support measures are to be guaranteed to women subjected to violence. Rape is to be defined as lack of consent.

• The Nordic governments prepare legislation on prevention of violence against women and girls, which involves criminalisation of sex purchasing where there is currently no such legislation, strong exit strategies are developed to enable women to leave prostitution, and capacity is strengthened in police and the judicial system to prosecute sex purchasers, procurers and organised crime.

• The Nordic governments draw attention to the special needs of particularly vulnerable women subjected to violence and assault. Women with serious psychiatric and/or drug problems who are subjected to violence lack equal access to women’s support units, and women’s support units are not sufficiently adapted for women with disabilities.

 

 

 

5. Environment, climate and sustainable development

We demand that:

• Nordic authorities help women to assume roles as players, innovators, organisers, teachers, leaders and ambassadors for sustainable development. Climate- and environment-directed aid must always, where relevant, include a gender perspective.

• Women are secured greater political participation and co-determination in the environment and climate work, and that negotiations on climate and environment agreements involve 50 percent women.

• Nordic authorities guarantee the rights of the Sami, particularly Sami women, to be heard on environmental matters concerning their areas.

• Nordic authorities implement stronger measures, including legislation, to quickly reduce harmful, often unnecessary and costly emissions, and the energy used must increasingly be renewable and sustainable.

• Nordic governments and authorities, together with the business community, take responsibility for showing the consequences to society of environmental toxins, chemicals and other emissions and discharges, and that consequences for women are considered in legislation, in development of a green economy and green workplaces.

• Women’s sexual and reproductive rights are guaranteed in environment- and climate-related crises, and violence against and trading of women and children in natural disasters is demonstrated and measures taken.

 

 

 

 

6. Care work and welfare society

We demand that:

• The Nordic welfare model is particularly protected in the event of financial crisis. What the objective is, what we can be proud of, and what can be improved are crucial issues.

• The Nordic governments prioritise good working conditions and the health of people working in the welfare sector. Personnel with low levels of education and unqualified personnel are given the opportunity of in-service training.

• The Nordic governments emphasise the importance of increasing men’s participation in health services and care, both in the unpaid work in the home and in paid work in the health and welfare sector.

• Nordic governments and authorities prioritise education and research on the democratic trend of an increasing proportion of elderly people in the population, and that they prioritise innovations, with both technical and organisational focus, and set requirements for a gender equality perspective thoughout.

• Authorities and other institutions are given the task of creating programmes for how technical advances can be used to improve public health. Particular consideration is taken to needs in particularly vulnerable groups and, on the basis of considering the individual’s dignity, help them to live an independent life as long as possible.

 

 

7. Peace and security

We demand that:

• The Nordic governments ensure women’s equal representation at decision-making level in all peace processes, to prevent war, mediate in conflicts, monitor peace processes, and participate in peace negotiations. The Nordic governments make demands in the UN for a special representative, responsible for women’s rights as players and decision-makers in peace and security issues.

• The Nordic governments revise, make tangible, and consolidate their action plans for Resolution 1325, earmark financial resources to emphasise the importance of participation of civil society, particularly women’s organisations, and the Nordic co-operation, to attain the goals.

• The Nordic governments allocate funds to protect and train women refugees, and increase their efforts to strengthen institutions and structures so that perpetrators of sexual violence in war are prosecuted and punished and that victims are given active support.

• The Nordic governments include indigenous people and the environment in peace and security issues.

• The Nordic governments promote peace initiatives, reduce military expenses, stop selling arms that largely affect children and women, and appoint disarmament ambassadors, and strengthen their active work to abolish nuclear weapons.

 

8. Political participation and development

We demand that:

• The Nordic governments set up clear goals for women’s real opportunity to exercise their citizenship, showing the needs and measures relating to vulnerable groups. Authorities prioritise work against Internet-hate and harassment of female politicians and other women in the public sphere.

• Political asssemblies and government, regional and municipal committees, commissions, working groups and delegations ensure, for example through a quota system, equal representation for women and men.

• Public authorities, muncipalities, media and businesses commission women as experts without being steered by gender-stereotypical perceptions, and that women in minority groups are heard as experts.

• There are women at local level in the horizontal decision-making in all sectors, including the financial and business sectors.

• Labour market organisations are responsible for ensuring that there are more women in executive positions, in trade unions, and employer organisations and their member organisations.

• All employment procedures, election committees and other selection situations use clear criteria that do not discriminate against women, and that political mentorship programmes are initiated to increase women’s participation in politics and to reduce the number of drop-outs.

 

 

9. Gender mainstreaming and gender equality in organisations

We demand that:

• The Nordic governments clarify division of responsibility for gender mainstreaming, and anchor and specify gender mainstreaming, including the right of appeal in national laws, ordinances and processs in all policy areas, and decide on and finance specific measures for effective implementation of gender mainstreaming.

• Authorities and other public enterprises are given the task of including a gender perspective in all their activities, and that gender mainstreaming is included in a correct way, which involves training of all personnel concerned, a gender equality perspective in budget and other policy processes, gender and equality analyses, and mechanisms and procedures for follow-up.

• The Nordic governments draw up action plans contain guidelines, criteria, indicators, performance indicators, and information and statistics by gender. Regular follow-ups are carried out, and they are reported and published.

• The Nordic governments use equality mainstreaming in all international involvement, including the Post-2015 agenda and sustainable development goals, SDG.

• Private sector employers integrate a gender perspective in their organisations.

 

10. Asylum and migration

We demand that:

• The Nordic countries recognise women’s grounds for asylum, and become role models in protecting women through clear gender-sensitive information about women’s grounds for asylum. All women who are in need of protection will be treated equally. Information will be given about women’s rights, and about where women can seek help in the event of vulnerability.

• Women with family links are to be granted their own residence permits that are not linked to the man. Deportation of women subjected to violence is stopped. Women who are subjected to trafficking in human beings are given protection and help, regardless of whether they can or will witness in criminal proceedings.

• Nordic governments and authorities apply a human refugee policy, with particular consideration to women in accordance with the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.

• Governments and authorities improve integration and training of women born in other countries with poor education levels, and illiteracy is prioritised in the education system.

• Migrant workers and labour force immigrants are guaranteed the same pay and working conditions as native labour.

 

 

 

11. New technologies and media

We demand that:

• The Nordic countries develop annual media barometers that document participation in media in terms of recruitment, leadership, content, perspective, etc.

• State-run media is given the task of creating gender equality by implementing a model for participation and non-stereotypical representation that can also be used by privately-owned media.

• School authorities and educational programmes with focus on media, and teacher training programmes, implement initiatives so that young people in the Nordic region become socially aware media consumers, because media skills are vital for active citizenship.

• In Nordic legislation, a ban on gender-discrimination in advertising is implemented, and the advertising sector is demanded information on airbrushing of pictures, since advertising pictures that are based on and reinforce gender-stereotypical roles have a negative effect on, in particular, young people.

• The Nordic governments draw up more effective prosecution of violation in social media, and set up an independent complaints procedure for discrimination against women and girls in media.

 

 

 

12. Feminism in the future in the Nordic region and the organisation of the women’s movement

We demand that:

• The Nordic governments ensure that women’s organisations are included more in the development of a transparent gender equality policy with a holistic view, as dialogue partners, critical reviewers, and agents of change. We want to participate more in long-term work for sustainable development, both at national and global level.

• The Nordic governments fund the women’s movement organisations and co-operate at Nordic level, at least on the same level as other organisations in civil society, so that feminism makes an impact and genuine gender equality is attained in society.

• In accordance with the Women’s Convention and Platform for Action Plan from Beijing, the women’s organisations and networks in civil society are given financial and societal opportunities to participate in political deliberations at local, national and international level.

• The Nordic governments finance a commission to the women’s organisations to make the Women’s Convention and Platform for Action from Beijing known to the general public and to show the consequences for tangible policies.

 


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