Check against delivery.
To reach the Sustainable Development Goals, we need to step up our work for gender equality. Gender equality has been a goal since the early 1980s for all Norwegian governments. Our goal has been to make balance between work and family life possible for both women and men.
The Gender Equality Act was enacted in 1978 and secures women's rights and protection against discrimination. Strong regulations against discrimination in working life is an important part of the Act.
I believe that strong discrimination laws is part of the basic framework for gender equality and women's empowerment. Increasing women's participation in working life is sound economics. It pays off – for the woman, for the family and for the nation. To give men and women the possibility to combine work and family responsibilities, social security is another part of the basic framework.
One main welfare scheme in Norway is the parental leave. The parents are entitled to approximately one year of paid leave that may be divided between the mother and father at their choice. 10 of the weeks are reserved for each parent. The reason behind the father's quota was to give parents an incentive to share responsibilities at home. 90 percent of the fathers make use of their quoted time.
For this government it is important that the major part of the parental leave can be shared between the parents at their own choice. Affordable day-care for children is also important to make it possible for both parents to work.
All Norwegian children have a right to a place in kindergarten from age 1-5, at a subsidised price.
These investments have resulted in a high employment rate among Norwegian women. They work almost as much in paid jobs as men do. This is combined with a relatively high fertility rate.
Even though we have come a long way towards gender equality, we still have challenges in Norway:
- We have a gender segregated labour market where women tend to work in sectors of lower pay. Even though women are in majority in higher education, men still dominate finance, business and engineering. Women dominate nursing, education and caregiving.
- The amount of women working part time is still a challenge.
- Many women with minority backgrounds do not work.
- Violence against women is still a serious problem in Norway.
This means that just like other countries, Norway will struggle to meet all the SDGs at home. But implementation of the ambitious goals is high on our political agenda.