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The men’s committee will give men equal rights to parental leave

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The head of the men’s committee Claus Moxnes Jervell (Th) with the then Minister of Culture and Equality Anette Trettebergstuen (Ap) in August 2022. Photo: Ole Berg-Rusten / NTB

Of NTB | 24.04.2024 13:40:30

Social conditions: Among the proposals from the committee are to introduce individual rights to parental allowance, introduce flexible school start times, set up a men’s health committee and make health services more accessible to boys and men. Altogether there are 35 measures in the committee’s report.

Through individual rights to holiday pay and dividing parental allowance into two, the current system will be replaced by a three-part system where a proportion of the leave is “joint”, and where paid paternity leave is dependent on the mother engaging in an approved activity.

– Parts of the father’s rights are still conditional on the mother’s activity. In practice, men do not have the same opportunities to take leave as women, the committee writes in the report.

It is also proposed to grant the right to two weeks’ paid maternity leave for the father or co-mother.

In response to this, the Men’s Committee proposes to make equality policy more equal.

– The men’s committee believes that equality’s next step should be to include boys and men’s challenges to a greater extent than today, they write in the report.

To the Equality Act itself, they propose to add a “gender-neutral purpose provision”, where this section today states that the act aims to improve the position of women and minorities. They also want more research in a number of areas, including men’s role in the family, gender and class differences in childlessness and men’s health.

– In addition to the financial gain by preventing outsiders, the Men’s Committee will emphasize that equality has an intrinsic value. A more equal society, where the equality challenges of boys and men are also covered by the equality policy, will be a fairer society, they write.

In order to equalize the gender differences in school and education, among other things, more play-based learning will be introduced in kindergarten, a flexible start to school instead of the current fixed six years, and more practical teaching. In addition, they want the right to an apprenticeship.

In the area of ​​health, the committee will have a separate men’s health committee and investigate the national screening program for prostate cancer. Furthermore, they want more measures to lower the threshold for men to seek health services.

Arne Børke from MannsForum and general manager Are Saastad at Reform – Men’s Resource Center are also involved.

It was then Culture and Equality Minister Anette Trettebergstuen (Ap) who set up the committee in August 2022. By then, 31 years had passed since the so-called men’s role committee under Jens Stoltenberg presented its final report. On Wednesday, Trettebergstuen’s successor Lubna Jaffery (Ap) received the report.

The committee cites a number of shocking statistics about men’s challenges in Norwegian society: In 2015–2019, 97 per cent of all those who died in occupational accidents were men. Almost half of the men questioned stated in 2022 that they had been exposed to serious physical violence in adulthood. Men make up 93.5 per cent of inmates in Norwegian prisons. More than two-thirds of those who chose to take their own lives in 2022 were men.

There are societal gains from increasing boys’ and men’s equality, the committee believes. They refer to an estimate that the socio-economic costs of outsiders amount to NOK 73 billion a year.

The committee has been chaired by Claus Moxnes Jervell from the Swedish Federation, and among the 17 members there are a number of big names: former Sámi Parliament president Aili Keskitalo, social debaters such as Sylo Taraku and doctor Wasim Zahid, CEO Camilla Stoltenberg of NORCE, musician Aasmund Nordstoga and football profiles Ola By Rise and Brede Hangeland.

(© NTB)

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