Brief background

The Nordic Women’s Movement invites you to Nordiskt Forum Malmö 2014 – New Action on Women’s Rights. The conference is a continuation of the Nordic conferences held in Oslo in 1988 and in Turku (Åbo) in 1994. They gathered thousands of activists, organisations, politicians and other actors who discussed both national and international women’s policy issues and strategies. They resulted in concrete proposals to promote equality between women and men. Nordiskt Forum Malmö 2014 is a progressive joint effort to manifest our determination to work together towards an equal society where women have full human rights, in the Nordic region, in Europe and internationally.

Historical background to Nordiskt Forum Malmö 2014

The United Nations conducted the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing 1995. The governments of UN member states adopted the Platform of Action. It was a victory for women’s organizations and built on worldwide efforts by women’s organizations both regionally and internationally, as in the Nordic countries, and showed the strong determination to reach agreements. The member state governments who signed the plan of action, with its twelve articles, undertook to implement the CEDAW – Convention on the Elimination of all Discrimination against Women, through more active and transparent actions.
Since 1995 no additional world conference on women’s rights has been conducted. Over the past few years voices have been raised in favor of a conference, but there have also been warnings about the risk of organizing a conference that could open up the Beijing Platform of Action for renegotiations. There is a general lack of confidence that governments’ of member states would uphold their previous commitments, but that instead women’s rights and living conditions would be substantively diminished. Women’s right to a decent development and to decide over their own bodies and sexuality, remain controversial issues which unleash endless negotiations without leading to results. The global development towards equality is being questioned, as are principles of universal human rights and democracy. To realize that today we are in a situation where in the inter-governmental negotiations and summits within the UN, the principles and languages, agreed 20 years ago, are at risk of being watered down or removed, is a sign that international development is not progressing. The latest such proof is the inability of UN member states to adopted agreed conclusions at the 2012 Committee on the Status of Women. Another example is the weak language about women and equality included in the final document of the Rio +20 meeting.

Women’s human rights and equal opportunities meet with active resistance with reference to traditions, religions and culture. Rights are conditioned and surrounded by limitations. But women’s existence is also put under pressured by economic, environmental, and political crisis. It has repeatedly been show that women suffer more negative effects from different crisis, especially poor women. The world has seen important changes through globalization and new technology developments, which per se entail important positive opportunities. However, the models and solutions being discussed to solve global problems and use the positive potential often lack the gender perspective. There is an imperative need to develop these aspects.


The Swedish Women’s Lobby took the initiative to organise a joint Nordic preparatory conference in November 2011, where some fifty representatives from women’s and gender equality organisations gathered. The conference resulted in a Nordic steering committee responsible for initiating and planning Nordiskt Forum Malmö 2014. The following organisations are part of the steering committee:

Sveriges Kvinnolobby, Sverige

Kvinderådet, Danmark

FOKUS – Forum for Kvinner og Utviklingsspørgsmål, Norge

Krisesentersekretariatet, Norge

Nytkis – Kvinnoorganisationer i samarbete, Finland

Kvenfélagasamband Islands

Kvenréttindafélag Islands


Nordiskt Forum Malmö 2014 – New Action on Women’s Rights aims to:

• Build commitment and understanding for the gender equality policy challenges and opportunities within the region.

• Promote and develop the Nordic debate on women’s rights, locally, regionally and globally.

• Formulate demands and concrete proposals to the Nordic governments and politicians connected to future gender policies.

• Build networks for experience-sharing between activists, scientists, organisations, government authorities, industry and the public.

• Provide information on CEDAW and the Beijing Platform of Action.

• Formulate recommendations for future strategies for gender equal sustainable development and the UN Millennium Development Goals post 2015.

• Break new ground by engaging, involving and using the competence and innovative capacity of the new generation that has come onto the scene since the World Conference in Beijing in 1995.

• Strengthen the Nordic Women’s Movement organisation and efficiency and further develop international perspectives and commitment.

Important and historical documents


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

Beijing Declaration and Beijing Platform for Action

PM on the background to Nordic Forum