The Socialist Left Party demands support for the Norwegian Women’s Lobby, for the fifth year in a row. The umbrella organisation for the Norwegian women’s rights movement still receives no state funding at all, after five years of activity.

The lack of state support is discrimination against women concludes an expert report to the UN written by Supreme Court justice Karin Bruzelius.

This article is also available in Norwegian

In its alternative state budget for 2019 the Socialist Left Party (SV) again proposes that the Norwegian Women’s Lobby (NWL) is allocated support from the state budget. The umbrella organisation for the Norwegian women’s movement still receives no funding from the state, after five years of activity. SV has demanded government funding for the Norwegian Women’s Lobby every year since 2014. In the hearing on the 2015 state budget in the Norwegian Parliament then-NWL President Margunn Bjørnholt said:

Today’s underfunding of the efforts to eliminate all discrimination against women in Norway, including the underfunding of women’s organisations, is a serious obstacle to full democracy and full equality between women and men, and a violation of Norway’s obligations to women in Norway.

Margunn Bjørnholt, NWL President, 2014

– The very foundation of the efforts to advance women’s rights in Norway

The Norwegian Women’s Lobby works to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women and girls. NWL is the umbrella organisation of the Norwegian women’s rights organisations, and was founded in 2014 by the key women’s rights NGOs in Norway. NWL has ten member organisations. The establishment of the Norwegian Women’s Lobby was initiated by Torild Skard, the former Chairman of UNICEF, and was in accordance with the recommendations of the government-appointed Gender Equality Commission of 2010, which was chaired by Hege Skjeie. The Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombud, Sunniva Ørstavik, described our founding organisations as “the very foundation of the efforts to advance women’s rights in Norway” and said on the establishment of the Norwegian Women’s Lobby:

– Finally! It is very important that so many women’s organisations now unite to work for a strengthened and better gender equality situation in Norway

Sunniva Ørstavik, Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombud, 2014

The current President of NWL is Ragnhild Hennum, Professor of Public Law and former Pro-Rector of the University of Oslo.

CEDAW Shadow Report: Lack of funding is discrimination against women

The Norwegian Women’s Lobby has for five years had considerable activity with academic and other events and participation in various UN contexts, and brings together both the central women’s organisations and the leading experts on women’s rights in Norway. During 2018 NWL for instance organised debates on sexual harassment and rape, and was a co-organiser of the parade in honour of that year’s Nobel Peace Prize laureates Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege. Following a proposal by the Norwegian Women’s Lobby our board member Rachel Eapen Paul was also elected as a member of the Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence. NWL also participates in the public consultation process in Norway and has produced two shadow reports to the UN.

The work has almost entirely been done on a voluntary basis – at the same time other NGOs, including a controversial anti-immigrant blog, receive substantial government funding from the right-wing government of Erna Solberg.

The lack of state support for the Norwegian Women’s Lobby was explicitly pointed out as an example of discrimination against women and a violation of Norway’s obligations under the CEDAW Convention in NWL’s Shadow Report to the CEDAW Committee in 2017, written by Supreme Court justice Karin Bruzelius, a member of NWL’s Expert Committee.