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Gender equality: Jagland (CoE), “women must also enter the private sector”

“Women account for 50% of the population so they must enter all areas of political representation, and also the private sector. I come from a country, Norway, that has achieved this, and this has changed politics”. Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland greeted the participants in the seventh World Forum for Democracy in Strasbourg that will be held today and tomorrow on the topic “Women – Men: same fight?”. “Now we need to change our culture”, Jagland urged the audience. There was agreement in the welcome addresses from local and regional political authorities (Jean-Luc Bohl, vice-president of the region Grand Est; Roland Ries, mayor of Strasbourg; Catherine Graef-Eckert, Counsellor at the Department of Bas-Rhin) on one principle: “women’s quotas” in politics are just one useful instrument to move “towards greater equality at all levels”. But for a cultural transformation to take place, we need to move from “equality in rights to real equality”. Discussion also focused on dreams with respect to gender equality, in the words and hope of Simone Weil: “That my difference be taken into account so that I am not forced to adapt to a male model”. Finally, an appeal: to achieve more gender equality, we should “overcome the dictatorship of image and appearance and work on these issues in a deeper way”.

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