Okay, I’m blogging in English again ;-) This time on a subject that might not be that interesting to everyone. But I find myself, increasingly often, being absorbed with thoughts and reflections around issues on gender balance and equality, and why the balance still doesn’t look that good in Norway (either)….
I participated in a Women’s Forum last fall, it turned out to possibly be a game changer in my professional life. We met so many amazing women and men in Washington DC and New York city. American “power women and men”. We had so many interesting discussions on various subjects, the theme mainly focusing on “the female“ objective. These women are so smart, and have worked so hard, building their careers in a mans world, no question we met some of the most talented women in the USA. Wether they were professionally close to Hillary Clinton or Obama, leading around 60.000 employees or strategically placed on the top level in large corporates – every single meeting gave me new and profound insights and perspectives. (Possibly marked for life ;-) I know now, 3 months later, that I can tag this trip as quite a game changer for me actually. Defining moments ;-)
I’ve always been engaged. In my professional life, as a mother, wife, friend, as a student or a volunteer. No matter what task, I need to be engaged, it has to be interesting, or I can’t be bothered… Every day though, I try to reflect – stop and think – before getting involved, ’cause I do tend to get involved in too much… I do NOT need to get involved in every interesting issue even if I do have an opinion….! I don’t need to be part of every discussion, whether its between my kids, my kids and my husband, between colleagues, between friends, on political matters and so on…. But I need to be engaged to have a full life, so must find the issues that are important to me, and I need to engage ;-)
So – back to the game changing. Genderbalancing issues are important to me. And the more I learn, the more insight I get – the more important it becomes. Of course this is probably in my genes. I’m brought up in a home where equality goes before everything, and the fights that were fought in Norway on behalf of women in the 60s, 70s and 80s were strongly welcomed and cheered in our home.
I realise I haven’t paid that much attention to this part of my upbringing, until now. I wonder. Why has it become such an important issue to me? And why now? Is it due to my (still pretty new) masters degree? I don’t know, I just know it’s important. I don’t think it’s just me focusing on the subject these days. I experience a wave of engagement across the world, and in Norway. The great and visionary leaders who set the agenda in today’s world are all addressing the imbalance in gender issues – the Dalai Lama, Obama, Richard Branson, Tom Peters, Meryl Streep, Sheryl Sandberg… Oh, I love the way she addressed the issue in Davos earlier this week – straight to the point there….
I’m not going to share my views and perspectives on these matter, I can do that on another blog update – I’m sure you can guess them anyway ;-) But I do want to share my reflections on the state of the modern feminism in Norway.
I’m not sure I like the word feminism. I wish we could find a new word. Feminism might be used too negatively in Norway? There were so many struggles, so many fights and “hard core views” back in the 70s. But – boy, did the women back then do a great piece of work for us and for future generations! But now, we need to get the men on board! It’s feminism all right, but the bottom line is gender balance. There are so many great, talented and capable men who know that gender balance and diversity is of utter importance, if we want a better world. Actually I think the young dads today want just as much as their wives to be soccer-parent, and I think they find it naturally and honestly easy to understand that their wives are just as passioned about their careers as themselves.
I think Norway is known in Europe and America for being a great country to live in for women. An article in Huffington Post 2014, showed that the countries in Scandinavia are way ahead of for instance USA, and I guess the picture is pretty much the same in 2016. But, I’m guessing these surveys are based on rights and the necessary framework that needs to be present, if women are to be given the same opportunities as men. I know we have the rights and “the framework” in Norway. I know so many women who aim for the leadership positions, urge at becoming board members and dream of starting their own business. So why don’t they?
In the Norwegian book SHEconomy (I hope it’ll be translated to English soon!) steeplechase is introduced as an expression in stead of the glass ceiling. The expression perfectly explains what we all experience. Oh, how many obstacles! Because even when we have all the rights, the power, the urge and “the framework”, even then there is still imbalance. Still so many obstacles. And lately there have been so many discussions on why. Is it the men? A Norwegian (male) humorist reflected on why he always strived after the positive feedback from his male colleagues, and didn’t really care about the feedback from the female humorists… So sad. There have been so many issues and examples illustrating “the state of the union”. I’m pretty sure the “state” is not how our mother feminists pictured it would be in 2016. So what happened? I really don’t know, and I think there are so many answers to that question. But men need to pay attention to what really makes a good business, a strong economy and a better society. Gender balance. Not too many women or too many men. Balance and equality. And women need to take more opportunities. Possibly reflect less on wether we’re good enough? And we need to cheer each other! Talk, cheer, socialise with the women who have succeeded. Listen to their stories, learn and copy.
I know for sure I live in one of the countries in the world where we have the absolutely and definitely best chances of succeeding in gender balancing. And that makes me sooooooo happy! Lets focus on all the possibilities we have. Lets do it together, men and women, young and old, Norwegians and foreigners. We know this is the only way to make the world a better place! ;-)
And if you’re still not convinced, please start to pay attention on what’s happening around you ;-) If you want, you can start by reading this article – from World Economic Forum in Davos – I love that these are the issues that are being discussed when the worlds greatest leaders get together to discuss the most important issues today ;-)
Have a great week, with a great amount of balance ;-)
– Peace & love –