Gender Equality in the Arctic
Opening remarks of Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development Cooperation
18. January 2022
Thank you, Ambassador,
First, let me thank Canada and our partners: Polar Knowledge Canada and the Icelandic Arctic Cooperation Network for the good collaboration that we have. I am happy to have the opportunity to address you today on the important topic of gender equality in the Arctic region.
Gender equality is fundamental for advancing sustainable development and therefore crucial for improving societal well-being and stability in the Arctic. Of course, it is also a fundamental human right and a true hallmark of what a good and desirable society looks like.
Gender equality and women‘s empowerment are cornerstones of Iceland‘s Foreign Policy and a priority clearly reflected within our many strands of work. The Arctic is definitely no exception.
It is important to consider gender perspectives in this context to reflect the different experiences and concerns of all gender identities as an integral element of policies and programmes in all political, economic, and societal spheres. This is a way to increase the likelihood that everyone benefits, and inequality is not perpetuated.
Iceland has led the Gender Equality in the Arctic project from its inception in 2013, under the auspices of the Arctic Council’s Sustainable Development Working Group.
The first phase of the project produced the Gender Equality in the Arctic – Current Realities, Future Challenges conference in 2014 and a subsequent report published in 2015.
The second phase was focused on the development of a circumpolar network of experts and an online platform.
And, last spring, we were proud to present the result of the third phase of the project: the ambitious report that will set the tone for today‘s discussions.
One of the many important aspects of this report is its emphasis on strengthening gender statistics in the context of the many challenges facing the Arctic region.
Indeed, meaningful research and quality data is fundamental to deepen the understanding of gender issues in the Arctic and at the same time it can provide crucial insights for decision makers to develop well informed policies. We need to make sure that we know where we are if we are to know if we are making progress.
Perhaps the most inspiring element of the Gender Equality in the Arctic project is the broad engagement process it has led to. This includes collaboration between multiple stakeholders from across the Arctic and contributors such as academics, researchers, youth, indigenous representatives, and other experts.
Let me conclude by thanking you all for your commitment to this agenda, and for all that you have done to help drive gender equality in our region.
I wish you a fruitful discussion. Thank you.
Ávarpið var flutt á málþingi um jafnréttismál á norðurslóðum, 18. janúar 2021. Málþingið er hluti af fyrirlestraröðinni Vísindi á norðurslóðum, sem er samstarfsverkefni sendiráðs Íslands í Ottawa, sendiráðs Kanada í Reykjavík, Polar Knowledge Canada og Norðurslóðanets Íslands.