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Joining forces to strengthen global gender equality efforts
More than 700 gender equality advocates from more than 100 countries gathered at the Stockholm Forum on Gender Equality to exchange experiences and mobilise efforts for global gender equality. The participants included key figures from civil society organisations, business, academia and politics. They all have the same goal: a gender-equal world.
The Forum took place at a decisive point in time. While gender equality is progressing in many places, many of the participants highlighted the fact that gender inequality and discrimination of women and girls are among the greatest human rights challenges of our time. Efforts to promote women's and girls' rights, representation and access to resources therefore require concerted action. It requires cooperation between gender equality advocates and decision-makers, and between men and women.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström began her speech with a special welcome to the men, stressing that gender equality is not a women's issue – it concerns peace, security, development and democracy. To illustrate the path to gender equality, she quoted Mahatma Gandhi:
"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. I sense that we are winning," she said.
More statistics needed
To tackle the issue of gender equality, the right conditions are required. Isabella Lövin, Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate and Deputy Prime Minister, highlighted identifying gender inequality as an area requiring considerable improvement.
"What you don't know about, you don't care about. We need more statistics on gender equality in the world to move forward. That will give even better opportunities to work for increased gender equality," she said.
"Gender equality is smart economics"
Minister for EU Affairs and Trade Ann Linde made the point that gender equality is not only wise and right, it is also smart economics.
"Women who participate in the labour market have more power over their own lives. This strengthens the whole of society. Shutting women out of economic activity is probably the world's greatest waste of opportunity and talent," said Ms Linde.
The Forum delegates are now urged to submit concrete examples of commitments, initiatives and cooperation to continue supporting and inspiring each other in their efforts to increase gender equality.
The Stockholm Forum on Gender Equality was organised by the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Swedish Institute, in collaboration with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA).
Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström, Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate and Deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lövin, Minister for EU Affairs and Trade Ann Linde and Minister for Children, the Elderly and Gender Equality Lena Hallengren represented the Government.