Oslo Arbeiderpartiet wants at least 40% women on mosque boards

Chief Commissioner Raymond JohansenOslo.Chief Commissioner Raymond Johansen.Photo : Terje Pedersen / NTB scanpix

Oslo Arbeiderpartiet (Ap) requires there to be gender equality in conservative communities and congregations outside the Norwegian Church. They have opened up removing state aid if the quotas are not filled.

The leak to NRK news came after a survey showed that women are strongly under-represented in conservative religious communities in Norway, and in congregations outside the Norwegian Church. 70% of Norwegian mosques have no women on the board, and a total of 8% of women are on the boards of Norwegian mosques.

‘’We want them to lose state aid if they do not have at least 40% women on the boards. This is not a private matter, all the time the state provides NOK 400 million in support of religious communities. In that case we must also be able to make demands’’ said City Councillor, Raymond Johansen of Oslo Ap.

Three out of four

In the four largest and oldest mosques in Oslo, with over 23,000 members, there are no women on the board. Three of these have not commented on the case, while general manager, Ikhlaq Ahmad of the Islamic Cultural Center Norway said in an email to NRK that they will get better at getting women onto the board, and that they have a youth organization with a female leader.

Child and family minister, Kjell Ingolf Ropstad of Kristelig Folkeparti (KrF) commented that he thinks the proposal is coercion and he does not want to force religious communitiesto get women in.

“There must be a high threshold for regulating religious communities, because freedom of belief must be strong in Norway” said Ropstad.

Yes and no

Social anthropologist and Islam expert, Unni Wikan, think the proposal is creative and supports it, while equality and discrimination ombudsman, Hanne Bjurstrøm, would rather go for other concrete measures. Initially, she would map the real state of equality in the religious communities.

A survey by the Norwegian Christian Council from 2018 showed that the proportion of women in local church boards in Norway was 59%. In Christian communities outside the Norwegian Church, the proportion was 30%

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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