The women’s rights movement is far from dead in Norway, despite the country’s image as an egalitarian society already. An estimated 6,000 people, men and women alike, gathered in front of the Norwegian Parliament in Oslo on Sunday to celebrate International Women’s Day, while similar gatherings took place all over the country.
“This day (the annual Women’s Day on March 8) is so important that we should rise above political divisions in the women’s rights movement,” said Guri Melby, a city politician from the Liberal Party who was out marching under a banner reading “Stop violence against women.” Melby said she was sorry that there’s been debate over whether feminism belongs to the left or the right sides of politics.
Prime Minister Erna Solberg was among those addressing the crowds and taking part in Women’s Day events, while also preparing to lead the government’s state budget conference that started on Monday. Solberg, from the Conservative Party, was herself hailed over the weekend as a feminist who has allowed her husband to assume household control while she’s pursued a life-long career in politics. Solberg, who has been overweight for years and once famously invited a TV crew in to see her family’s ordinary and rather untidy home, has also helped free many women from feeling they must have perfectly fit bodies in order to achieve success.
Melby said she actually thinks that the division of labour at home is one of the most important issues facing women at present. Other issues included violence, equal pay for equal work and efforts to get more women into top management positions in private business. A recent survey pointed out that Norway ranks relatively low regarding women in the executive ranks, despite the country’s image as an egalitarian nation with a social welfare system aimed at equality between the sexes.