Ministerial Roundtable 1 at the Commission of the Status of Women
Getting to parity: good practices towards achieving women’s full and effective participation and decision-making in public life
15 March 2021
H.E. Mr. Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson,
Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland
Dear chair, colleagues, ladies, and gentlemen,
I am glad to join you today to share some good practices towards achieving women’s full and effective participation and decision-making in public life.
Ensuring women’s participation in public life is a fundamental element of an open society, in which people can determine their own future and shape their community. Doing so, also ensures that women’s needs, interests and experiences are reflected and addressed in decision-making processes, resulting in outcomes that are more inclusive and democratic.
In Iceland we have been fortunate to see valuable progress on this front.
Good practices that have delivered results include the introduction of special measures and legislation such as paid parental leave for both parents and affordable day care.
Not only have these measures contributed directly to the high level of women’s labour participation, which ranks at the top of the OECD countries, but they have also ensured that women increasingly have a seat at the decision-making table, be it in the public or private sector.
In our experience, it has also become evident that these special measures have changed social norms in Iceland. Indeed, it is becoming socially accepted, and expected, that women are equally represented in all spheres of society.
The path towards gender equality has certainly not always been a smooth sailing and trailblazers often play a key role in driving transformative changes. In Iceland, for example, we would not be where we are today without the pioneering women that brought these issues to the political agenda in the first place.
I believe it is also of utmost importance to involve male decision-makers in this dialogue. Engaging men and increasing awareness is a key contributor in making inclusive decision-making processes and equal opportunities the new normal.
We need to keep in mind that gender equality and women’s empowerment benefit us all and lead to greater prosperity for everyone.
Let us work together and learn from each other by sharing knowledge and good practices - and support one another on the journey towards gender parity.