New and Remaining Challenges

Violence against women

Gender related killings

Intimate partner homicides in general account for 20-30% of the total numbers of killings  (footnote 1 below). The lack of preventive measures against the killing of women in Norway, which often are at the end of a continuum of gendered domestic violence, is a major concern for the Ombud.

The Government should establish a national commission of experts from different fields of expertise to identify intervention measures for the prevention of gender related killings.

Prostitution and trafficking in women and girls

The Government has signalled that they will consider repealing the law criminalizing the purchase of sexual services of 2009. The Ombud is seriously concerned that such a move would signalise to potential buyers that women’s bodies can be seen as commodities for sale – a factor that fuels trafficking in women and girls for prostitution.

The Government should maintain the law prohibiting the purchase of sexual services.

Women and the economy

Tripartite collaboration

A tripartite cooperation agreement in order to promote gender equality in work life has been established between the employer’s and employee’s organisations and the state.However, this agreement in our opinion, is too weakly designed to be able to achieve its goals.

The Governmentshouldmake the cooperation agreement for gender equality in work life more binding, setting specific goals and allocating sufficient resources.

Parental Leave

The Norwegian policy on parental leave has until recently moved progressively towards longer parental leave and a more equal sharing of this leave between women and men. The present government’s recent reduction of the father’s quota of parental leave, in our opinion, undermines the goal of equally shared family responsibilities.

The Government should uphold a parental-benefit scheme that divides parental leave into three parts; one for the mother, one for the father and the third to be shared freely between the parents.

Human Rights of Women

New comprehensive anti-discrimination act

The Government is in the process of replacing the existing Gender Equality Act with a comprehensive anti-discrimination act, encompassing all the grounds of discrimination. Our concern here is a potential weakening of the present legal protection from gender based discrimination (footnote 2 below).

The Government should adopt a comprehensive anti-discrimination act which still aims at improving the position of women in particular, and strengthening the positive duties to promote gender equality.

Institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women

Gender budgeting

All Ministries are required by the Master budget document to incorporate a gender perspective in the budget proposition. In practice however, gender budgeting - the most important prerequisite for attaining the goals set by the Beijing platform - is not being applied effectively in economic decision-making (footnote 3 below).

The Government should prioritize the implementation of gender budgeting at all levels of governance.

Women and the media

Pornography

The Government has taken no explicit action to reduce the harms of violent, degrading pornographic media products (footnote 4 below). The Ombud is concerned that the misogynist hate speech conveyed in pornography triggers discrimination, harassment and violence against women.

The Government should provide education on harmful gender stereotypes perpetuated by pornography, and support measures to limit access to pornographic material.

Footnotes

  1. 86 people were killed by partner or ex partner in the period from 2003 and to 2013.  74 of the victims were women (86 %) and 9 were men (14%). Kripos: the national register on murders.
  2. The Equality and Anti-discrimination Ombud (2014): Submission of an alternative report to the CEDAW Committee on the follow-up report of Norway, Oslo.
  3. Difi 2009.
  4. BPA Strategic Objective D, paragraph 118: “Images in the media of violence against women, in particular those that depict rape or sexual slavery as well as the use of women and girls as sex objects, including pornography, are factors contributing to the continued prevalence of such violence, adversely influencing the community at large, in particular children and young people.”