An International Men’s Conference on Gender Equality in Iceland in 2006
Iceland’s Minister of Social Affairs convened the first men’s conference on gender equality in Iceland on December 1 2005. The conference was only intended for men, with the exception that Mrs. Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, former president of Iceland, addressed the conference and was in attendance as its guardian and guest of honour.
Mr. Árni Magnússon, Minister of Social Affairs, convened the conference in cooperation with Mr. Ari Edwald, the managing director of SA, Confederation of Icelandic Employers, Mr. Bjarni Ármannsson, the CEO of Íslandsbanki, Mr. Gunnar Páll Pálsson, president of the Commercial Workers’ Union of Reykjavík, Dr. Ingólfur V. Gíslason, head of division at the Centre for Gender Equality, Mr. Ólafur Stephensen, assistant editor of Morgunblaðið, and Mr. Runólfur Ágústsson, rector of Bifröst School of Business. All of the above mentioned gave a talk at the conference, along with the author Mr. Þráinn Bertelsson. Two panels were also held – one with young men from the political parties, and the other with men who have experience in working on gender equality from men’s perspectives. Mr. Egill Helgason and Mr. Þórhallur Gunnarsson, TV news analysts chaired the panels and discussion. Around 200 men attended the conference and agreed upon the Minister’s proposal for the following conclusions.
The Meeting´s conclusion
“Icelandic males here met today, December 1, 2005, the day celebrating Icelandic sovereignty, to discuss gender equality. They are united in their view that it is essential that men should shoulder more responsibility for the achievement of gender equality. From time immemorial, women have borne the brunt in the struggle for gender equality. These burning issues of our times should be shouldered in equal measure by both genders; women’s rights are human rights, gender equality and gender issues demand from the male population more action and less words.To achieve substantial change, essential steps must be undertaken in equal partnership.
Gender equality encourages improved use of human resources. Gender equality contributes to value creation. Gender equality creates a safer future for our children. Gender equality is an important prerequisite for well-being and happiness, and is therefore in the interest of all mankind
Men on board
The Minister of Social Affairs in Iceland, Jón Kristjánsson, challenges men from around the world to attend an international conference “Men on board” which will address the topics “Men and Gender Equality”, which will be held in Iceland in December 1, 2006.” Mrs. Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, former president of Iceland, will be guardian and guest of honour.