Finland’s Presidency 2016

Finland 2016The Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers rotates between the five Nordic countries and is held for a period of one year.

Finland held the Presidency in 2016 and the Nordic gender equality cooperation focused on the work against gender-related violence, promotion of gender equality in media and the gender perspective in the area of health.

The following projects were carried out on the themes:

Projects

Enough, Now! Nordic Models to End Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence

The aim of the project is to investigate effective ways to combat domestic and intimate partner violence.

A variety of perpetrator-focused tools and models are used across the Nordic countries to curb the violence. The project will review and present these tools and models and explore their underlying theories, how participants are selected and what actors are involved in the programmes. The identified models will be studied and compared based on available evaluations, and the advantages and disadvantages of each model will be presented in the final project report.

The final report was published in September 2016. A conference at which the results of the review were presented and discussed was also arranged.

The Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare is in charge of the project.

Gender Equality and the Media

The project brings attention to women and men in the media within the framework of the overarching public sphere theme of the Nordic gender equality cooperation. Equal opportunities for women and men to participate in policy making and the overall development of society are essential for a democratic public sphere. Media plays a crucial role in this context by reflecting the diversity in society. The media create opinions, attitudes and stereotypes and influence our view of the world around us.

The project will gather information about how women and men are presented in media and how gender-discriminating advertising is regulated in the Nordic countries. Extensive research points to an imbalance both in the representation of women and men in the media and in the gender distribution of producers and presenters of news in the Nordic countries. Moreover, women are underrepresented not only among decision makers in the media sector but also in the actual content of news media, both as news subjects and as sources of information and expertise. Unrealistic media images of women and men, an emphasis on idealised body shapes, appearance and competitive behaviour, together with growing sexualisation of the public space provide girls and boys with a limited range of role models. The project aims to increase the knowledge about the issue in a Nordic perspective and ultimately stimulate change. In order to discuss and disseminate relevant information, an event will be arranged in connection with the project. The results of the project will be published as part of the Nordic Council of Ministers’ publishing series TemaNord.

A seminar titled Freedom of Speech and Gender Equality – Time for News Media to Step Up! was arranged within the framework of the project on 2 May 2016 in Helsinki, in connection with World Press Freedom Day 2016.

 

Female Genital Mutilation – a Matter of Human Rights and Gender Equality

The Finnish League for Human Rights arranged a Nordic conference and an expert seminar on the theme of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) as a human rights violation and a hindrance to gender equality on 13–14 October in Helsinki.

According to the European Parliament (2012), about half a million girls and women in Europe have undergone FGM/C. The conference brought attention both to the need for a change in attitudes in the communities where FGM/C is practised and to the importance of methods and professional efforts to prevent FGM/C and support those who have undergone FGM/C.

The first day of the event was open to the public and the programme consisted of presentations by Nordic and international experts, a Nordic panel and representatives from communities in which the tradition is practised. The second day targeted the members of FOKO – the Nordic network for research on female genital mutilation – and focused on research, programmes and other activities in the area.

The conference aimed to increase the Nordic sharing of knowledge about research, legislation, the work of public and private organisations, policy programmes and the work to achieve attitudinal change. The conference also aimed to increase the ability of authorities to address the issue and in so doing gain knowledge about children at risk and about already completed genital mutilations.

The event targeted in particular Nordic researchers, professionals, public authorities, actors in civil society, decision makers as well as women and men with immigrant background and a native culture involving FGM/C.

The Nordic Region – a Single Market for Human Trafficking

The Nordic Council of Ministers has developed a new, cross-sectoral programme against human trafficking that is intended to further the Council’s contribution to the work against human trafficking in the Nordic countries and neighbouring areas.

One major challenge in the work against human trafficking in the Nordic countries is the difficulties of various public actors to identify human trafficking. Another troubling factor is that the knowledge about the character of human trafficking as a serious crime remains very limited.

In response to this situation, a conference for discussing different forms of human trafficking in a Nordic perspective was arranged together with the Nordic Committee for Children and Young People and the Nordic Council of Ministers for Legislative Affairs. The conference focused in particular on trafficking of children and youth for sexual purposes and legal processes. The conference was held in Helsinki on 26 October.

The project is coordinated by the Finnish Non-Discrimination Ombudsman.

Read more about the conference here (in Swedish).

Gender Equality in Health and Health Care

The project focuses on health and health care in a gender equality perspective. It takes as a starting point the Nordic cooperation concerning the health of women, men, girls and boys within the framework of the Nordic Councils of Ministers for Gender Equality and Health and Social Affairs. At a seminar in Åland in June 2016, experts, researchers, public officials and policy makers discussed how to ensure gender equality in Nordic healthcare in the future.

Welfare in the Nordic Region 2020

In cooperation with the Nordic Councils of Ministers for Health and Social Affairs, Culture, Education/Research and Labour, the Nordic Council of Gender Equality is carrying out the 3-year project Welfare in the Nordic Region 2020 (‘An Open and Innovative Nordic Region with Healthy People 2020 – Equal Opportunities for Welfare, Culture, Education and Work’).

The project will yield a comparative description of the development and benefits as well as the striving for renewal in the Nordic welfare societies. The goal is to facilitate reformation and vitalisation of the Nordic cooperation in welfare policy and to make the Nordic model visible internationally.

Gender equality is considered one of the most important values in the Nordic societies and welfare models. The gender perspective will therefore be integrated into all relevant inquiries and activities in connection with the project.

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