Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Every municipality must have an equality plan 5/6

If a municipality wants to be attractive and attract new inhabitants, to entice young people with high skills and education levels, then we also need to show that we are innovative. A lack of gender equality is not innovative! Today’s new graduates are young people who take gender equality for granted and we cannot be perceived by them as ‘slow’ or ‘backward’. This means that every municipality must work on this issue and draw up its own equality plan. Annual action programmes should prioritise and identify concrete actions to foster gender equality. Municipalities must also provide 100% nursery coverage to enable all those women who want to play an active part in the labour force to do so. In kindergartens and schools, giving children greater courage and improved selfesteem should be a priority to provide them with the tools to take charge of their own future career choices based on their individual desires and talents, rather than on traditional gender-based expectations. It is also important to involve pupils, parents and staff in the work on gender equality. I love my kids, but I would have been a terrible mum if I had to stay at home all day. It really is possible to live an active life, work full-time and still be a good mother.

Well-educated mothers can support their children better, whether in discussing important matters in life or helping them with homework, and can in general be better role models than mothers who stay at home 24/7. In the south of Norway, many women work part-time; having a full-time job is crucial to being entitled to better welfare benefits: nine out of ten low-income pensioners in Norway are women. Salary, sick leave, maternity leave and pensions are based on income. Having a job contributes to defining who you are, and it influences how others perceive you. Society needs as many people as possible to contribute to maintain our current levels of social welfare and the competitiveness of our businesses and industries. Those who are part of the work force are also more economically independent: women who do not work or have part-time jobs, are for example, the financial losers in a divorce. Women must understand the links between these issues.

By Janne Fardal Kristoffersen

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