Thoughts for International Women’s Day from Norway / News / The Foreigner

Thoughts for International Women’s Day from Norway. Three leading Norwegian female politicians tell The Foreigner about the significance of this year’s International Women’s Day for them. In an extended piece, Liberal Party (V) leader Trine Skei Grande, Helga Pedersen, deputy leader of the Labour Party (Ap), and Siv Jensen, Progress Party (FrP) leader share their thoughts. 100 years on from gaining the vote, what does 8 March symbolise for you as a woman?

internationalwomensday, womensdaynorway



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Thoughts for International Women’s Day from Norway

Published on Friday, 8th March, 2013 at 13:59 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 8th March 2013 at 15:00.

Three leading Norwegian female politicians tell The Foreigner about the significance of this year’s International Women’s Day for them.

Helga Pedersen (centre)
Helga Pedersen (centre)
Photo: Labour Party


In an extended piece, Liberal Party (V) leader Trine Skei Grande, Helga Pedersen, deputy leader of the Labour Party (Ap), and Siv Jensen, Progress Party (FrP) leader share their thoughts.

100 years on from gaining the vote, what does 8 March symbolise for you as a woman?

“It fills me with respect for all those women and men that fought and sacrificed a lot for equal rights. The Liberal Party fought for women's right to vote. And we won in the end,” says Trine Skei Grande.

“The first female MP Fredrikke Marie Quam was a Liberal, and the first female leader of a political Party in Norway was the Liberal’s Eva Kolstad. We have a lot to be proud of when it comes to women' s rights. It is a day to honour these liberal women and others who have fought, sacrificed, and won for us,” she adds.

“But the fight continues. Today, the fight in Norway is carried further by people like female ski-jumper Anette Sagen, who has been ridiculed and denied participating in major ski jumping contests.”

Labour’s Helga Pedersen says that “8 March symbolised the freedom struggle– with the right to vote, to be economically independent, and have equal opportunities regardless of gender.”

“To be frank, I would rather have an Individuals Rights day than a Women`s Rights day”, explains Siv Jensen, “but to answer your specific question, for me 8 March should both be a celebration of what women have achieved in terms of important equal rights.”

“For example, [this is] the right to be treated on an equal footing when it comes to gaining the right to vote, but more importantly it Trine Skei Grande
Trine Skei Grande
Bård Ek./Liberal Party
should be also an arena for raising our voices of concern about our fellow sisters lacking fundamental rights.”

What about as a politician?

“As a politician but also as a woman, I think the 8 March should be about really important issues like the practices of forced marriage and female genital mutilation. 8 March should not be a campaign day against striptease, Israel, or the European Economic Area (EEA),” Siv Jensen continues.

“It should be one where women fight for basic freedom rights for all women – rights that women of the West take for granted, but for our fellow sisters represents a battle many times involving life and death.”

Labour’s Helga Pedersen says she wants “to look forward, and focus of the next barriers women and men should break. At the same time I want to honour the progressive women in politics before me for having the courage to break many of the glass ceilings.”

“Equal rights and human rights are the reasons why I went into politics. Lack of equal rights is the greatest obstacle for economic growth and development. It’s not only me who says this, but the World Bank too,” declares Liberal leader Trine Skei Grande.

Have you anything special you especially wish to impart?

I will in my speech tomorrow name 10 points for improving women's rights. To name some of them: Better social rights for women who start their own business, better reforms for women's health and a separate task force and investigation team in the police for rape and sexual violence.”

Siv Jensen
Siv Jensen
Frode M. Stie/FrP
“Gender equality isn`t about the percentage of male nurses and female CEOs, about positive discrimination or affirmative action using quotas or about forced parental leave for fathers,” states Progress’ Siv Jensen.

“Gender equality is not a question of what choices people do, but about what possibilities they have to choose freely, regardless of their gender. It`s not a problem in itself that men and women make different choices,” she adds.

“I must say that we [the Labour Party] have delivered especially on family policy with the right to kindergarten for all, and extended paid leave and a personal quota to the father,” declares Helga Pedersen.

How far has Norway come in recent times regarding women’s issues?

“We have come a long way, but the fight for equal opportunities is an everyday struggle,” she says.

The Progress Party’s Siv Jensen recounts a pertinent and personal story in response to this question.

“Norway has achieved great things, and in my opinion we should now use our time and energy in the support for the fight for other women’s claim for the same basic rights we in Norway take for granted.”

“My great grandmother, Betzy Kjelsberg, was one of the early pioneers of the Women`s Rights Movement in Norway, and she fought for women’s right to participate actively in society, with the same political rights as men.

“I’m proud of her role, efforts and achievements. The battle of today takes place in other arenas, both globally and in here in Norway. I’m sure that my great grandmother would have been supportive and proud of the Progress Party’s leading role in the fight against oppression of women done in the name of culture, here and abroad,” she relates.

The Liberals’ Trine Skei Grande thinks Norway has come extremely far, “but we still have discrimination in Norway.”

Labour's Helga Pedersen
Labour's Helga Pedersen
Labour Party
“Men earn more than women and women are looked upon as second-rate in some parts of society. That annoys me. The general situation is still that men are in power in politics and in business.”

“It’s getting much better, though, not least because women and girls are bypassing men in school and in academic achievements. Ultimately, you can't fight the force of skills and knowledge.”

What could be improved?

“Better conditions for our prostitutes for one”, explains Trine Skei Grande, “they have become even greater victims and targets of violent men and pimps following criminalising the purchase of sexual services, which the Liberal Party was against.”

“This is because they have to go underground and are no longer protected to the same extent as earlier. The government has also failed to supply these women and men with social measures and welfare.”

The Liberals’ leader also mentions those females who are victims of violence, rape and sexual harassment.

“This cannot be tolerated. Yet it happens every day. The Police need to take this far more seriously. We don't need new laws we need the Police to prioritise sex-crimes and so-termed "domestic violence". This is an erroneous term which shows us how little seriously this is taken. It should be called for what it is, beating of children and battering of women.”

According to Helga Pedersen of the Labour Party, “now the biggest challenges for equal opportunities are in the working place with British Suffragette (clipped)
British Suffragette (clipped)
Ch. Chusseau-Flaviens/Wikipedia
equal pay, culture, for full-time jobs for women and more men in the kindergarten and healthcare sectors.”

Would you like to mention anything else?

“Equal rights and equality should include all”, Progress’ Siv Jensen says, “and we can’t tolerate the oppression of women just because someone tries to hide the oppression arguing for an acceptance of cultural differences. Culture matters, but fundamental rights matter most. That should be the line we follow.”

“I congratulate all women today. I would also like to honour the many men who stood up and stand up for women's rights. I thank you,” Trine Skei Grande concludes.




Published on Friday, 8th March, 2013 at 13:59 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 8th March 2013 at 15:00.

This post has the following tags: internationalwomensday, womensdaynorway.





  
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