International Women’s Day in Norway

Highlights of the March 8 events in Oslo

There is an irony in the fact that Norway, which is ranked as the second most female friendly nation (2018 ranking*1), is so dedicated to the International Women’s Day. Have they not already achieved equality? The strong engagement is a good barometer for Norway’s general commitment to support women’s rights. The laws here do support women both in the workplace and home. Norway, traditionally a farming nation, recognized the contributions of farmer wives, decades ago, by giving them the status of a regular workers, entitled them to increased social security and workman’s benefits. Now girls are taken over farms since the law on inheritance has changed, favoring the first-born child, replacing the first born “male” as the heir. The law now also states that all corporate boards must be minimum 40% female; however, women tend not to rise as rapidly as men on the corporate ladder. A major newspaper recently reported that more men are going into female dominated vocations, such as nursing and teaching, and a larger percentage of women now seek higher education than men. 

While Norway also has a Safe House for abused men, women are still subject to abuse in the home and harassment in the workplace. Abortion laws have also been under pressure. So, even with all the backing of the law, attitudes, actions and personal choices can seem to be more difficult to change. There have been many studies and reports about the gender paradox of gender equality in Norway*2. So, even women here, have reason to march for equality for themselves and women globally.

The main emphasis of this year’s march was about abortion rights and equal pay.   

Self-determined abortion is the law until 12 weeks. But many find it disturbing that the abortion law is being drawn in different directions and threatened, and there is a desire to remove the so-called “councils”, usually physicians, that can determine a women’s right to have an abortion after 12 weeks to 18 weeks. There were demands and chanting “No to Councils” at the march.

On the International Women’s Day in Norway, there were arrangements from 8am until 9pm. In many parts of this nation. Here are some of the highlights from Oslo:

  1. A Breakfast meeting with the premiere showing of the documentary RBG, about the feminist ikon Ruth B. Ginsberg with a panel discussion afterwards. Found here:
    The same theater will show the film “On the Bases of Sex “, April 5th, which tells the story of Ruth B. Ginsburg and her struggle for Women’s right in the USA.

  2. Seminar on how Women change the world. 9am

  3. Women’s Activism from the 1970s at the library in Nydalen.

  4. Seminar on immigrant women and equality in the home at Furuset, 12 noon.

  5. Hillary Clinton speaks at the BI university in Oslo at Nydalen (invitation only) 2pm. Here is a link to Hillary’s speech in Oslo on women’s contribution to the economy and much more. She starts to speak about 35 minutes into the interesting program:

  6. “The Fight Against Sexual Violence and FGM #untw 19” at Design & Architecture 16:00
    “Violence against girls and women around the world is among the most universal and pervasive human rights violation and a major public health problem in the world. It affects one in three girls and women worldwide or around more than billion women across the globe, particularly in the Global South. This global issue has detrimental effects not only on the women but the society, along with its progress on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). There are many types of violence against girls and women such as, sexual violence and assault, trafficking and female genital mutilation.
    According to World Health Organization, female genital mutilation estimates that over 3 million girls are at risk of undergoing female genital mutilation every year. In addition, human trafficking and sexual trafficking is characterized as the world’s fastest growing crimes, where girls and women count for most of the victims. Rape and illegal abortion force girls worldwide to take extreme measures in order to survive.
    The fight against violence to women and girls worldwide.

  7. The March (anticipated 15,000 attending) and arrangement at Youngstorg at 6pm.

There were many speakers, music, entertainment and many signs and slogans.

Women dressed in “Handmaiden” frocks demonstrated in front of the Kings castle prior to March 8th  against any possible government interference in womens abortion rigths.

Video: posted March 8th:

The US Ambassador Kenneth J. Braithwaite, a moderate Republican, honored March 8, by gathering the U.S. Embassy Oslo community to celebrate and appreciate the many contributions women make to our Embassy mission, the U.S.-Norwegian relationship, and beyond.