In the beginning of June 2013 two representatives of the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, namely the Equal Opportunities and European Coordination Service as the central national body for gender equality, visited the institutions for gender equality in Iceland, namely in the framework of the bilateral cooperation under the EEA Financial Mechanism 2009-2014 and the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2009-2014. They observed their operation, exchanged experiences and established relations for the future cooperation which will take place in the framework of the project “Balanced power relations between women and men” under the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2009-2014.
They first visited the Ministry of Welfare and their division for gender equality and employment where they also met with the representatives of the Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Finance and Gender Equality Council. The theme of the discussion was the experiences regarding the preparation and implementation of the gender equality policy and the concrete projects in Iceland, especially in the field of mainstreaming gender equality into policies and budget and in the preparation of the gender equality action programme.
They also met with the representatives of the framework non-governmental organisation, namely the Iceland Women’s Association KÍ, one of the oldest non-governmental organisations in the field of gender equality, which brings together over 180 non-governmental organisations working in the field of gender equality. These are non-governmental organisations from various fields and this is why their activities are very diverse and cover various areas: health, healthy diet, violence against women, women in agriculture, promotion of gender equality, promotion of non-governmental organisations, etc. They issue the co-called women’s newspaper.
The representatives also visited the Centre for Gender Equality, which is the key national institution in the field of gender equality, and learnt more about their work and cooperation at the national and local level and with civil society. One of the more interesting projects being implemented is the project “Men and Gender Equality” which focuses on certain key areas which are important from the view-point of men and gender equality: caring role of men, health and the quality of life of men, men and prostitution and pornography, men and violence, etc.
They also met with the representatives of local non-governmental organisations, who underlined the problem of women migrants and the lack of shelters for women as victims of violence; they also met with a representative of the local community who presented the projects which are being implemented at the municipal level with the objective of enforcing gender equality; they also visited a kindergarten which emphasises gender equality, especially regarding the recognition and discussion of the stereotypical roles of men and women.
In the framework of the study visit they observed the complex national mechanism of Iceland in the field of gender equality: within the Prime Minister’s Office one person is in charge of the gender equality, within the Ministry of Welfare there is a division for gender equality, the Centre for Gender Equality is the main institution in the field of gender equality, there is also a Gender Equality Council and a Gender Equality Complaints Committee.
You can find more information on gender equality in Iceland on the Website of the Centre for Gender Equality.