The Gender Equality Experience
We invited six students from all over the world, to Stand Out and Go North – to learn about the resource that is more profitable than oil – women! We also invited Former U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, to join our conference on the economic benefits of gender equality.
Is there a connection between the fact that Norwegian men change diapers, and the fact that Norway is one of the richest countries in the world? When discussing gender equality issues, we often refer to what's ethical, moral and fair. But there is another argument that needs to be addressed – economics.
The Gender Equality Experience: A Documentary
This is why we invited international students from all over the world to apply for an experience of a lifetime, the Gender Equality Experience. Out of 785 applicants, we choose six bright and motivated students from China, Mexico, Germany, Brazil, Russia, and the US, for an exciting and challenging week, focusing on the financial gains of gender equality and how we do it here in the far North – one of the most gender equal countries in the world.
Throughout the week the students met up with leading politicians from the government and business representatives to discuss gender equality and the economic benefits. They had workshops with an organisation called She got this, which focuses on data-driven and research-based efforts to increase gender balance in corporations. The students also got to spend a whole day with modern Norwegian men on parental leave, to understand and get their perspective on the importance of shared parental leave, both for families and for society as a whole.
The Gender Equality Conference
The week’s big finale was The Gender Equality Conference that took place on International Women’s Day, 8th of March, where we invited eminent speakers to talk about the economic benefits of gender equality for our six international guests and all of our BI students.
We were exceptionally proud to have Former U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, join our discussion as the keynote speaker.
"The fact that Norway has over 72 % women labor participation, is one of your great economic assets. Very simply, the evidence is overwhelming that a higher labor force participation rate by women, increases the economic output, and increases the gross domestic product. "
In addition to Secretary Clinton, we also invited eminent speakers from the business world, politicians and our own academic staff to talk about gender equality from different points of view.
Is gender equality profitable? Why and how? What political incentives can stimulate gender equality in the work force? What can businesses and industries do to contribute to a sustainable economy? These are only a few of the question we tapped into during the day.
The Economic Perspective
- Did you know that women are more important than oil for the economy, in terms of hard cash?
- Did you know that Norwegian laws and regulations empowering gender equality were one of the reasons why we were so well equipped when the financial crisis hit the world in 2007?
- Did you know that working towards women having equal career possibilities gives men equal possibilities for family lives?
There are many more reasons why a sustainable future involves fighting for gender equality. The world keeps getting more and more intertwined, and all countries are affected by each other. We need to find solutions that will benefit us all. We need to keep pushing the issue further and make it a priority. Because, if you thought that we were nearly there, and that the conversation was getting old, think again:
A recent report by the World Economic Forum found that it would take 108 years to reach gender equality at the current pace of social and economic change. We can’t wait for that! We need to talk and learn from each other, and never stop fighting for equal rights and a more sustainable future.
As one of Europe ‘s leading business schools, with great ambitions both nationally and internationally, we take responsibility to contribute to a better world. Our research and teaching are a big part of this contribution. But it is also important that we use our strong position to create arenas for constructive dialogue and exchanging ideas. That is why we initiated the Gender Equality Experience and the Gender Equality Conference.
We are very proud of our hard-working students, and want to utilise our position and network, so it benefits them. This conference was for tomorrow’s leaders and employers, our future. We hope the conference gave them insight and inspiration that they can take with them into their future careers and contribute to developing perspectives and values that benefit society.
We are really excited about giving our students these types of experiences and we hope that you will join us in the autumn and be a part of the journey with us.
Stand Out. Go North!
"Gender equality is often framed as more of a moral issue, and that we should care more about more important topics. When you tie gender equality to the economic benefits, you can’t use the economy as a scape goat anymore. You can tie it back to businesses and the bottom line, which is what most people care about."