Norway – 51st Session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women

On the 16th of February 2012, Norway was reviewed by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), at Palais Des Nations, Geneva. Mr. Audun Lysbakken, Minister of Children, Equality, and Social Inclusion, presented the eighth national report affirming that, despite Norway being one of the first countries to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, several challenges remained.

Different issues were presented by the Minister, like  gender-based violence (domestic violence and violence perpetrated in the street), the political representation of women (female representation in local government decreased in the last elections), the economic power of women (high rate participation of women in the labour market but lower wages than men) and the development of gender equality machinery. New measures have been taken to face discrimination against women, such as the Action Plan on Gender Equality (which contains the government’s actions in education, gender stereotypes, and family) and the signing of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (the first legally binding instrument to provide measures in preventing violence and protecting victims).
The experts raised different questions concerning  discrimination suffered by women with a migrant background, trafficking of persons and prostitution, domestic violence and the consequently high  rate of  murdered women, the percentage of women in politics and the problem of pay gap between men and women.
Concerning education, the delegation highlighted the first Article of the Gender Equality Act specifying the need for men and women to have the same opportunities in work, education and cultural development, and it expressed its concern for the low rate of women in academic positions and the need for introduction programs for minority women, in order to prepare them adequately for education and work.
In conclusion, the Minister thanked the experts for an interesting and intensive dialogue, affirming that their comments would ensure the improvement of women’s rights in Norway.