Inger Elin Utsi har denna uka vært i Strasbourgh for å holde tale til Sub-komiteen for minoritetsrettigheter i Europarådet. Tema for innlegget var samiske kvinner i et samfunn i endring, likestillingsarbeid, og tiltak mot vold i nære relasjoner.
Innlegg på engelsk kan du lese under bildet.
Dear participants, moderators and guests,
Thank you for inviting me to participate in your hearing. My name is Inger Elin Utsi and I represent the Norwegian Saami Association. I am a member of the Sami Parliament/Sámediggi in Norway.
The organizers of this hearing have asked me to give a presentation on the theme “Sámi women in the changing society”. And I just come from Oslo where the Sami Parliament was held for first time at Stortinget – The Norwegian parliament. It was an historic week.
The purpose of the Sámi Parliament is to strengthen the political position of the Sámi peoples and promote the interests of the Sami people in Norway.
The Sámi Parliament is an elected assembly. Thirty-nine members of parliament are elected every fourth year. For the current period there are 20 women representatives elected to the Sámi Parliament. In the interim, between the plenary sessions, The Sámi parliaments Executive Council, under the leadership of the President, is responsible for executing the roles and responsibilities of the Sami Parliament. Currently a woman, Aili Keskitalo, holds the presidency. It may also be worth mentioned that eight of the 10 political groups that are represented within the parliament, are lead by women.
The fact that we have gender equality in the Sámi Parliament is, however, not something that has happened by accident. After the election in 2001, the percentage of women was only 18 per cent. We felt an urgent need to correct this imbalance.
The organization I represent, Norwegian Saami Association (NSR), initiated then an election project, and the aim of the project was to ensure that more women in our organization were nominated as top candidates. And we succeed. After 2005, 12 of 18 representatives in the Norwegian Sámi Associations Sami parliament political group were women.
Now we have 50 per cent gender representation. This proves that results like this do not simply happen by accident.
But to the topic Sami women in an changing society- that being said, we also face challenges. Research shows that in the areas in which the Sámi language has a strong position, Sámi women experience their health as worse than that of the general population. Women are in a minority in the Sámi primary industries, and in some way in the primary industries’ decision – making bodies. Yet, this has been improved lately.
Ensuring that our children can get training and education in our own language and based on our own culture is an uphill battle and there is no end in sight. And although, we must nonetheless strive to ensure that women’s rights are rendered visible in everything we do in the Sámi community.
In 2008, Sámi Parliament adopted a Plan of Action for Equality. Equal opportunity and equal status underpin Sámi Parliaments activities, with the vision of an equal Sami community with equal rights, duties and opportunities for women and men.
Accordingly, Sámi Parliament works to promote equal rights and equal opportunity regardless gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation. Equality has an impact on all areas of society and is to be an integral part of Sámi Parliaments work.
Since 2002, Sámi Parliament has presented a total of five equality policy reports with an emphasis on gender equality.
The main purpose of the reports has been to draw attention to the challenges.
Sámi Parliaments Plan of Action for equality is followed up in annual budgets in the period.
Little systematic research has been conducted on equality-related challenges in Sami communities. However, this should not prevent us from proposing specific strategies and measures based on existing knowledge about the Sami population.
It is important that Sámi Parliament is involved in the equality debate at all levels, while at the same time placing equality within Sami communities on the public agenda.
Unfortunately, violence is close relationships also occurs in the Sami community. Sámi Parliament has therefore supported a two-year campaign against violence in close relationships.
In the end I will just tell about some of mine personal experiences. Yes, in politics me and mine sister – we have a voice and we do contribute for development. And it works. I have realized that my roots and the fact that I´m a women, from an indigenous group, a minority in the society – are effecting the road towards a more equal future.
We – the representatives of The Sami Parliament are proud of our existence, and willingly to provide knowledge to the majority of the Norwegian community. Decisions for our future should be made by our self, the Sami people.