Men only gender equality conference

Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson.
Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson. Photo: The Foreign Ministry of Iceland

During his United Nation's General Assembly address earlier this week Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson announced the Barbershop Conference in January 2015 which is an initiative that Iceland has taken along with Suriname. The aim with the conference is to activate the participation of men and boys in the fight for gender equality. Iceland has been at the forefront of the international debate on gender equality and has put a special emphasis on that issue in international level such as the UN according to a press release from the Foreign Ministry.

"We continue to experience that when discussing gender equality, especially in international fora, women speak with other women about the hugely important issue of gender equality. This affects all of us, irrespective of gender, age and race. Men cannot dismiss gender equality as an issue for women alone. We have to engage in this important debate and I find it crucial to engage men and boys in the fight for gender equality for the benefit of all of society. Gender equality must not be seen as exclusively a women's issue. Men are not merely the problem but also part and parcel of the solution,” says Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson.

The governments of Iceland and Suriname have been working to advance gender equality at the United Nations and have formed a friends group of almost 50 states on the importance of celebrating the Beijing platform on gender equality. In 2015 two decades will have passed since its adoption.  The Barbershop Conference, which will take place at the United Nations in New York on 14-15 January next year, will be Iceland's and Suriname's contribution to activating men and boys in the fight for gender equality.

“It is our hope that this conference will contribute to changing stereotyped roles of women and men, as has been stressed so effectively in the HeforShe campaign. I want to encourage all men to sign up to this campaign and show their support in action,” says Sveinsson.

The Foreign Ministry's press release in full

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