The University of Agder organized a national conference “Equality: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” as part of the celebrations of the 10th anniversary of the Centre for Gender Equality.
Leaders and participants were gathered in Kristiansand June 6 and 7 2018 to reflect over the current situation in Norway and the world. The conference brought close together around 200 key representatives from the government, the regional public services, civil society organizations and academia. The aim was to discuss solutions, new initiatives and strengthen regional and national cooperation.
Norway has for a long time attached welfare to its gender equality policy, such as paternal leave, kindergarten development and measures in the workplace.
The conference is taking place at a decisive moment with the dangerous rise of nationalistic movements in the world and the election of politicians that undermine equality values and goals.
“Despite some progress, inequality and discrimination remains one of the greatest human rights challenges in our time. The conference mobilizes forces to achieve the national goals and focuses on critical issues related to representation and access to resources,” underscored Åsta Lovise Einstabland, leader for the centre of Equality at UiA.
Shabana Rahman and her colleague from the organization “Født Fri” (Born free) had strong speeches on the challenges that women from minority groups face every day, and how they work actively to empower women through solidarity actions and speaking up about issues that hold women back and curb their freedom.
The national conference was based on a broad gender equality perspective. The event combined lectures with workshops, which go into depth on different grounds for discrimination. Themes are diversity and inclusion, leadership, health, media representation, men’s role in the family and the upbringing of children, religion and environment from a gender equality perspective.
At the conference, key note speakers and participants raised questions regarding what we can learn from previous gender equality efforts, where we are today and what consequences have current policies and practices for the future. History shows that civil society has been a driving force in shedding the light on important gender equality issues. Therefore, the Gender Equality Centre invited this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner ICAN, chairman Beatrice Fihn.
More rights, representation and resources for everyone means more peace, security, and prosperity for the world. “Women are not better, or more peaceful than men but women bring different perspectives as they are the majority workforce in care giving professions. With more equality, we create a possibility for grassroot movements to impact the world and lead to change policies like those related to the use of nuclear weapons,” underscores Beatrice Fihn, leader of ICAN.
The Centre for Gender Equality is a regional driving force for equality and diversity that sets knowledge-based and research-based actions in the region to achieve a better gender equality.
The Centre's purpose is linked to a broad gender equality term that includes dimensions such as gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity and functional ability.
The Centre for Gender Equality is located at the University of Agder, but represents the whole region of Vest-Agder. The Centre has a broad partnership with public, private and civil organizations, both locally and nationally.
The Centre has started as an initiative of the Agder Gender Equality Council. The University Board decided to establish the Centre on 13 February 2008, and the formal opening took place 11 September 2008. On 22 February 2012, the University Board decided to make the Centre for Gender Equality a permanent Centre at the University.
From 2008 to 2016, the Centre for Gender Equality was organized under the Faculty of Humanities and Education at the University of Agder. In 2017, the Centre became a part of the Faculty of Social Sciences, but it continues to be a Centre serving the entire university as well as a host organization of key actors in the region.