The Equality and Anti-discrimination Act

The Equality and Anti-discrimination Act shall promote gender equality and aims in particular at improving the position of women and minorities.

The purpose of this Act is to promote equality and prevent discrimination on the basis of gender, pregnancy, leave in connection with childbirth or adoption, care responsibilities, ethnicity, religion, belief, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age or other significant characteristics of a person.

Since coming into effect, the Norwegian Gender Equality Act required that public authorities advance gender equality in all areas of society. Since 2002 this requirement also applies to the private sector. The duty to work toward gender equality implies a requirement to avoid discrimination and to actively implement concrete steps to promote gender equality. In the private sector this requirement applies only within enterprises (personnel and wage policies). 

Direct or indirect differential treatment of women and men is not permitted. A job vacancy must not be advertised as being restricted to one sex only. However, affirmative action in favour of one of the sexes can be permitted. In accordance with the broader purpose of the Act, affirmative action will as a main rule be used in favour of women. The Act was amended in 1995 to explicitly allow for affirmative action in favour of men, limited to certain professions related to the care of children and to teaching. 

The Act prohibits discriminatory treatment of women during pregnancy, breastfeeding and in their use of their right to leave that is specific to the one sex. This also includes fathers who take out their father-quota leave. This applies to leave in connection with both childbirth and adoption.

The provision in Equality and Anti-Discrimination Act states that women and men have the right to equal pay for work of equal value. Through an amendment in 2002 it was made explicit that this provision gives access to comparable pay across professional or vocational boundaries, or wage agreements. The amendment also includes central elements salient to the determination of which types of work are of equal value. These elements provide a foundation for the use of work evaluation as a tool for equal pay. 

In 2018, the Equality and Anti-Disrimination Act entered into force. It then replaced four previous laws: the Act relating to a prohibition against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression,  the Act relating to a prohibition against discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, religion and belief, the Act relating to a prohibition against discrimination on the basis of disabilitand the Gender Equality Act. 

The authority of the Anti-Discrimination Tribunal to enforce this Act follows from the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombud Act.

Resources for Legislation

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Equality and Anti-Discrimination Act

The Act relating to Gender Equality (the Gender Equality Act) was adopted by the parliament in 1978. In 2018, it was merged with three other laws, into the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Act. The Act shall promote gender equality and aims in particular at improving the position of women and minorities. Women and men shall be given equal opportunities in education, employment and cultural and professional advancement. The law is based on the principle of non-discrimination, which is the cornerstone and basis for promoting gender equality. 

Read more at lovdata

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 34/180 of 18 December 1979, entry into force 3 September 1981, in accordance with article 27(1). CEDAW is the most authoritative UN human rights instrument to protect women from discrimination. It is the first international treaty to comprehensively address women's fundamental rights in politics, health care, education, economics, employment, law, property, and marriage and family relations.

Read more at United Nations / The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Istanbul Convention

The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) entered into force 1 August 2014. It opens the path for creating a legal framework at pan-European level to protect women against all forms of violence, and prevent, prosecute and eliminate violence against women and domestic violence. The Convention also establishes a specific monitoring mechanism in order to ensure effective implementation of its provisions.

Read more at Council of Europe

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)

The commission was established in 1946 in order to prepare reports and to make recommendations to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The main tasks of the Commission is the promotion of women's rights in a broad range of fields, as well as to develop recommendations and proposals for action on urgent problems in the field of women's rights. The Commission has also been given the task of reviewing and appraising the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action which was adopted by the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women.

Read more at ECOSOC / UN Division for the Advancement of Women

The Beijing platform of Action

Adopted at the Fourth Conference on Women in 1995. The platform identifies 12 critical areas of action needed to empower women and ensure their human rights: (1) women and poverty, (2) education and training of women, (3) women and health, (4) violence against women, (5) women and armed conflict, (6) women and the economy, (7) women in power and decision making, (8) institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women, (9) human rights of women, (10) women and the media, (11) women and environment and (12) the girl-child.

Read more at United Nations

Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security

Adopted by the Security Council at its 4213th meeting, on 31 October 2000. The resolution reaffirms the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace-building, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and in post-conflict reconstruction and stresses the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security. 

Read more at the United Nations

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women

The committee monitors progress for women made in countries that are states parties to Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). The Committee reviews periodic reports of CEDAW states parties on national implementation of CEDAW obligations, and issues general recommendations, which elaborate the Committee's view of the treaty's obligations. Norway is obliged to submit regular reports on measures that have been carried out and on the progress that has been made in fulfilling the obligations imposed by CEDAW.

Read more at The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women / UN Division for the Advancement of Women

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

Adopted and opened for signature and ratification by General Assembly resolution 2106 (XX) of 21 December 1965 entry into force 4 January 1969. While specific references to women and their rights are lacking in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the provisions of the instrument are clearly relevant to the situation of many women and are, of course, applicable equally to both women and men. 

Read more at the UN General Assembly / The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Convention on the Political Rights of Women

Opened for signature and ratification by General Assembly resolution 640(VII) of 20 December 1952, entry into force 7 July 1954. The convention states that: Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country directly or indirectly through freely chosen representatives, and has the right to equal access to public service in his country, and desiring to equalize the status of men and women in the enjoyment and exercise of political rights.

Read more at UN General Assembly / The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR)

Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 2200A (XXI) of 16 December 1966, entry into force 3 January 1976. Specific references to women and their rights are lacking in the ESCR, but the provisions of the instrument are clearly relevant to the situation of many women and are, of course, applicable equally to both women and men.

Read more at the United Nations / The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR)

Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 2200A (XXI) of 16 December 1966, entry into force 23 March 1976. Specific references to women and their rights are lacking in the CCPR, but the provisions of the instrument are clearly relevant to the situation of many women and are, of course, applicable equally to both women and men.

Read more at the United Nations / The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by UN General Assembly resolution 39/46 of 10 December 1984, entry into force 26 June 1987, in accordance with article 27(1). The convention has no general provisions concerning gender, but the Committee Against Torture has included a gender perspective in its guidelines on the form and content of initial reports under article 19 to be submitted by states parties to the convention against torture.

Read more at the UN General Assembly / The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

The Convention on the Rights of the Child

Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by UN General Assembly resolution 44/25 of 20 November, 1989, into force on 2 September, 1990, in accordance with article 49. The convention extends the prohibition on sex-based discrimination to all the rights set forth therein. A number of the articles in this Convention are also of special relevance to the girl-child.

Read more at ohchr.org

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

The office is the focal point for human rights within the United Nations system. The OHCHR is currently working towards bridging the gap between "specialized" and "mainstream" mechanisms as they relate to the human rights of women. The High Commissioner continues to emphasize the importance of integrating women's rights into a broader understanding of human rights.

Read more at The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences

The former UN Commission on Human Rights in resolution 1994/45, adopted on 4 March 1994, decided to appoint a Special Rapporteur on violence against women, including its causes and consequences. This was the first investigatory procedure with a mandate specifically concerning women. The Special Rapporteur has a mandate to collect and analyse comprehensive data, and to recommend measures aimed at eliminating violence against women at the international, regional and national levels.

Read more at The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

National minorities (Jews, Kvens, Roma (gypsies), the Romani People (travellers) and Skogfinns) in Norway

The most important conventions as regards minorities are The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Article 27), The European Charter on Regional or Minority Languages and the Council of Europe's Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. These conventions are relevant for both men and women, but they have gender specific provisions.

Read more at The Council of Europe's Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

Trafficking in Human Beings

Norway has ratified The United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and its two supplementary Protocols that were signed in Palermo, Italy, in December 2000. The Trafficking Protocol recognizes the need for a combined approach that integrates effective prevention of trafficking with the prosecution of traffickers and the protection of human rights and the provision of assistance to victims of trafficking.

Read more at United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime

Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 55/25 of 15 November 2000. The Protocol is intended to "prevent and combat" trafficking in persons and facilitate international cooperation against such trafficking. It provides for criminal offences, control and cooperation measures against traffickers. It also provides some measures to protect and assist the victims. 

Read more at UN General Assembly

The Optional Protocol to the convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

Adopted by UN General Assembly resolution A/54/4 on 6 October 1999 and opened for signature on 10 December 1999, Human Rights Day, entry into force 22 December 2000. The Protocol enables women, subject to gender discrimination, to submit complaints both in groups or as individuals, to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. 

Read more at the United Nations / The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking

The former UN Commission on Human Rights adopted decision 2004/110, by which it decided to appoint, for a three-year period, a Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, to focus on the human rights aspects of the victims of trafficking in persons. In the same decision, the Commission invited the Special Rapporteur to submit annual reports to the Commission together with recommendations on measures required to uphold and protect the human rights of the victims.

Read more at The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings

The Convention is a comprehensive treaty mainly focussed on the protection of victims of trafficking and the safeguard of their rights. It also aims at preventing trafficking as well as prosecuting traffickers. The Convention applies to all forms of trafficking; whether national or transnational, whether or not related to organised crime. It applies whoever the victim: women, men or children and whatever the form of exploitation: sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, etc. The Convention provides for the setting up of an independent monitoring mechanism guaranteeing parties' compliance with its provisions. Norway signed the Convention 16 May 2005.

Read more at Council of Europe

Beijing +10 Review

Review of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of the special session of the General Assembly entitled "Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century"; and current challenges and forward looking strategies for the advancement and empowerment of women and girls.

Review of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of the special session of the General Assembly entitled

Rules of gender-representation in the Local Government Act

As a result of regulations issued pursuant to the Local Government Act, the provisions on representation of both sexes on official committees at municipal and county levels are now to be found in the Local Government Act. County chief administrative officers have been given the authority to enforce the provisions. According to § 37 and § 38 in the Act, gender should be a consideration when the body is established. 

Read more at the government.no

The Father's Quota

As of 1 July 2014, the maternal and paternal quotas are fifteen weeks each of the total benefit period (49/59 weeks). If the father does not use the paternal quota, these weeks of leave usually expire. The original four-week paternity quota was introduced in 1993, and its purpose is to strengthen the father's relationship with the child. It was gradually expanded up to 14 weeks (for each parent), reduced to 10 weeks in 2013, and expanded to 15 weeks again in 2018. 

Read more at the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (choose english language)

The Cash Benefit Act

The cash benefit scheme provides a cash remuneration to parents who choose to care for their young children at home, instead of placing them in a kindergarten. The arrangement, since its introduction in 1998, has been a much and vehemently debated matter. The questions raised are largely in the area of gender equality, such as, if the measure may hinder progress in achieving gender equality, since it is largely women who make use of this offer.

Read more at the Norwegian Government

The Marriage Act

This Act regulates the marriage contract in Norway. Amendments in the marriage was enacted by the Norwegian Parliament (Stortinget) 17. June 2008. The amendment gives lesbians and gay men the right to enter marriage on the same basis as heterosexuals. The amendments came into force 1. January 2009.

Read more at the Norwegian Government

The Abortion Act

Women’s right to choose an abortion is regulated by The Act Relating to the Termination of Pregnancy of 1975. When the act was introduced, the woman had to fill out an application, then a committee of doctors decided if an abortion could be granted or not. In 1978 women themselves were granted the right to decide whether to terminate their pregnancies or not. This right is limited in time, and is valid until the end of the twelfth week of the pregnancy. In 2019, the Abortion act was modified in cases of foetal reductions. Now, all foetal reductions must be reviewed by an abortion board. 

Read more at the Ministry of Health Care and Services

Penal provision regarding domestic abuse

On 20 December 2005, the Storting adopted a penal provision regarding domestic abuse (section 219 of the Penal Code). The provision came into force on 1 January 2006. In the new provision, it is the perpetrator's long-term terrorisation and abuse of the next-of-kin that constitutes the criminal aspect of the act. The penal provision will strengthen the legal status of women since women are the main victims of intimate partner violence.

Read more in the Norwegian Penal Code

The Working Environment Act

The new anti-discrimination regulations added to the Working Environment Act protect against labour market-related discrimination on the basis of gender and ethnic origin etc., as well as on the grounds of disability, sexual orientation, age and political conviction. The act also ensures employees the entitlement to leave of absence during pregnancy and childbirth. 

Read more at lovdata

The Marketing Control Act

The act states that "The marketer and the designer of the marketing shall ensure that the marketing does not conflict with the equality of the sexes and that it does not exploit the body of one of the sexes or convey an offensive or derogatory appraisal of women or men".

Read more at Forbrukerombudet

Act Relating to the Municipal Crisis Centres Services

The Act relating to Municipal Crisis Centre Services (Crisis Centre Act) entered into force 1. January 2010. The purpose of the Crises Centre Act is to ensure the provision of a good, comprehensive crisis centre service for women, men and children who are subjected to domestic violence or threats of such violence. The municipality shall ensure the provision of a crisis centre service that may be used by persons who are subjected to domestic violence or threats of such violence, and who need counselling or safe, temporary accommodation. Individuals may contact the crisis centre service without a referral or an appointment.

Link to the act (in Norwegian)

Conditions for a period of reflection and temporary residence in Norway

Victims of human trafficking who are not lawfully resident in Norway may be granted a period of reflection of six weeks. This means that any rejection and expulsion order may be suspended. The threshold for granting a period of reflection is intentionally low. It is sufficient that the person in question is presumed to be a victim of human trafficking and must be willing to accept help and information.

Read more at The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration

The Allodial Rights Act (Odelsloven)

The Act gives relatives preference with respect to farm property and gives the eldest child, regardless of gender (until 1974 the eldest boy) first choice in taking over the farm. Research shows that parents encourage boys much more frequently than girls to exercise their allodial rights and take over the farm. Only 16,2 per cent of all farmers in Norway are women. 

Read more at the Norwegian Agriculture Agency

Child benefit

Child benefit is a kind of benefit that is paid for all children under the age of 18 years who live in Norway. The purpose of child benefit is to help cover the costs of raising children. Single parents are entitled to child benefit for one child more than they actually live with (extended child benefit).

Read more at the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration

The Day Care Institutions Act

The Day Care Institutions Act states that kindergartens shall provide children under compulsory school age with good opportunities for development and activity in close understanding and collaboration with the children's homes. Owners of private kindergartens may in their statutes prescribe that the second paragraph shall not apply. Private kindergartens and kindergartens owned or run by parishes of the Norwegian State Church may incorporate in their statutes special provisions in regard to ideological aims.

Read more at the Norwegian Government

Act on an introductory programme and Norwegian language instruction for newly arrived immigrants (The Introduction Act)

An individually adapted introductory programme for newly arrived immigrants provides basic skills in Norwegian and gives insight into Norwegian society. According to the preparatory notes to this law, it shall aim at providing the necessary conditions that will enable women to take part in work life. Economic support is provided on an individual basis, and this measure also stresses the importance of women’s economic independence. Completion of the programme may in the long run affect an application for citizenship.

Read more at the Law Library, University of Oslo

News

Historic debate moved Argentina closer to the legalisation of abortion

24.08.2018

On 8 August, a proposal to legalise elective abortion was debated and rejected in Argentina’s highest legislative body. Despite the decision, Argentina has shown itself as a democracy with room for female voices, according to researcher Camila Gianella.

Read more at Kilden genderresearch.no

Norway bans child marriages

25.07.2018

Amendments to the Marriage Act to prevent minors to enter marriage came into force July 1st 2018. The former access for persons between 16 and 18 to apply to the County Governor for permission to marry is repealed.

Read more at the Ministry of Children and Equality

The rocky road to sex change treatment in Norway

02.07.2018

In the 1950s, the first successful gender reassignment treatment was carried out. Since then, major developments have taken place within medicine and law, but also when it comes to our perceptions of gender, according to historian Sigrid Sandal.

Read more at Kilden genderresearch.no

“Complete lack of due process for victims of sexual harassment”

18.06.2018

As it stands today, sexual harassment cases must be heard in the courts. Now many are applauding the decision to provide a low-threshold option that will ease the burden on victims.

Read more at Kifinfo

Review: What does the law say about #MeToo?

31.01.2018

In all Nordic countries, employers are required to prevent and respond appropriately to sexual harassment in the workplace. Nevertheless, the problem remains widespread, as has become increasingly clear in connection with the #MeToo campaign. In this review, we identify the laws that apply in the Nordic countries.

Read more at NIKK - Nordic Information on Gender and Nordic Council of Ministers