Mosques face pressure to have more women on boards

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Norway has strict laws demanding that women make up at least 40 percent of all boards of directors, but religious organizations are usually exempt. Now, after learning how men dominate the boards of local mosques in Norway, politicians are considering applying the quota rule for those mosques receiving state financial support.

“It’s a fundamental value in Norway that men and women shall have equal power and influence,” Bård Vegar Solhjell of the Socialist Left party (SV) told newspaper Dagsavisen. “SV will evaluate demanding that women have more influence in religious organizations that receive state support.”

Newspaper Vårt Land reported earlier this week that of the 248 board members of Norwegian mosques that are members of the national Islamic Council, only three are women. Vibeke Blaker Strand of the Norwegian Center for Human Rights said the state should demand that both men and women are more equally represented on the mosque’s governing boards.

SV’s deputy leader clearly agrees and the Labour Party is open to the idea. The Conservative Party declined to take a stand pending a government review of how the state supports religious groups. The Progress Party favours increasing the female representation on mosque’s boards but is opposed in principle to quotas.

newsinenglish.no staff