“The main thing is to remain oneself, under any circumstances; that was and is our common purpose.” (Madeleine Albright)

Men and women have equal value; this is ideologically fundamental to Social Democratic politics. This equality should be reflected in all spheres of politics and life so that we build a fair and equal society. But we all know that reality does not reflect such equality. Women are discriminated against formally and informally, consciously and subconsciously, everywhere.

Many of us proudly say we live in countries where gender equality exists. Our constitutions are very progressive and guarantee women and men equal rights. This is always a myth and if we believe it is true then it may make us blind to the discrimination that exists. Click on the map below to explore for yourself!

UN and gender equality
The UN former Secretary General, Kofi Annan, stated a view that is shared by many countries. He said: “All my experience tells me that the most important issue for the world’s development is women’s rights”. In 1979, the UN adopted a Charter – The Convention of the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women, CEDAW.

“By accepting the Convention, States commit themselves to undertake a series of measures to end discrimination against women in all forms, including:

to incorporate the principle of equality of men and women in their legal system, abolish all discriminatory laws and adopt appropriate ones prohibiting discrimination against women;

to establish tribunals and other public institutions to ensure the effective protection of women against discrimination; and

to ensure elimination of all acts of discrimination against women by persons, organizations or enterprises.” (quote from the CEDAW)

Gender glasses
We politicians must contribute to gender equality by working systematically at adopting a gender perspective. What do the politics in our respective portfolios look like from a gender perspective? One tool that can help us to know more about how men and women are affected by a municipal program is called 3R. Use the three Rs below to assess:

  • Representation: How are men and women represented at different levels and in different activities
  • Resources: How are the resources divided between men and women in terms of money, services, space and time
  • Reality: What are the different realities of men and women’s lives?

Gender equality is about the relationship between men and women and about using everyone’s full contribution to the development of society. If we want our society to develop and become more equal, both sexes must take responsibility and show each other mutual respect. It is a joint task to achieve gender equality.