Swedens ambassador to the UN, Olof Skoog, former State Secretary Pernilla Baralt and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women. Photo: Pontus Höök/Nordic Council of Ministers

Former State Secretary Pernilla Baralt has said that “There has been a great deal of interest in the progress that Sweden and Norway have made in gender equality, and also that gender equality is not only a rights issues – it boosts economic growth. In particular, I’ve received a lot of questions about the long-term work we do in the area of governance, as opposed to short-term projects. The fact that Sweden has a Gender Equality Agency and that it implements gender-responsive budgeting attracts a lot of interest internationally,”

Pernilla Baralt, former Swedish State Secretary and Marlene Schiappa, State Secretary in France, in a panel about ways and obstacals to reaching the goal of increasing women’s representation in political assemblies.
Photo: Governemt Offices of Sweden

She said “Gender equality policy concerns everyone, regardless of who you are and where you live. We talked about the enormous potential there is today to move forward on gender equality, with the Me Too movement and the Global Goal on gender equality in the 2030 Agenda. What we need is for everyone at every level to take responsibility and to involve boys and men in the work,”

Ms Baralt added that “Many women in politics do not complete an electoral period, so we talked about how to get more women to become involved in – and remain in – politics. It’s about making sure the political climate is favourable, that it’s possible to combine politics and family life, but also about men’s responsibility in the home,” .

Pernilla Baralt, the Nordic gender equality ministers – Karen Ellemann, Denmark, Linda Hofstad Helleland, Norway, Ásmundur Einar Dadason, Iceland – and Finland’s Ambassador to the UN Kai Sauer hosted the joint panel discussion ‘Right, roles and realities – Nordic strategies for gender equality’. It centred on the Nordic countries’ strategies for gender equality, especially in rural areas, and on sexual and reproductive rights. Ms Lena Ag, Director-General of Sweden’s new Gender Equality Agency, was the moderator. The event was part of Sweden’s programme for the 2018 Nordic Council of Ministers.