Business & Government Dec 16, 2014

Iceland’s Foreign Minister to Host ‘Barbershop Conference’ for Gender Equality

The goal of the international conference is to end gender inequality through the inclusion of men.

Iceland has been ranked the best country in the world for women 5 years in a row, so it’s no surprise the country is hosting an international conference this January focused on gender equality. Inspired by Emma Watson’s HeForShe campaign, which aims to end gender inequality thorugh the inclusion of men, Iceland’s Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson is hosting a ‘Barbershop Conference‘ in New York from January 14-15. 

The conference will consist of three sessions; one exclusively for men but all sessions focused on encouraging men to discuss how society views men and women. The Foreign Minister hopes that the conference will help men to realize and accept the role they play in sexism and violence against women. 

“The goal is to start this dialogue between men,” Sveinsson told The Telegraph. “It’s a journey. We are travelling in the bus with HeForShe and other campaigns. Hopefully others will join and I think if we can start a dialogue between men and boys, it’s very positive.” Attendees, both men and women, will include UN representatives, ambassadors and other prominent world leaders. 

Sveinsson hopes that this event will encourage world leaders to take this issue seriously and discuss ways to fix and improve gender equality. He added: “We’re not perfect in Iceland, but we’ve gone very far with the education sentence and paternity leave and so on… In the last three decades in Iceland we’ve been changing our mind-set, actively encouraging women to get involved in all parts of society.”