Grande praised by queer and women networks in the Liberals
Loud cheering and applause met Leader of the Liberals, Trine Skei Grande, when she was celebrated as Minister for Equality at the regular hangout of the queers in Oslo, the London Pub.
Getting this responsibility has been a strong and long-time wish for us, which is finally fulfilled. That is why we are celebrating today, the Liberals’ Equality Policy spokesperson, Grunde Almeland, tells NTB.
He and the queer network, Free Liberals, together with the Young Liberals and the Liberal Women network of Norway, organised a celebration of Grande’s appointment as the Minister of Equality, which reached its climax when the Leader of the Liberals herself entered the stage accompanied by much cheering and applause.
Earlier on Tuesday, there was some uncertainty as to exactly what led to Grandes’ ministerial title being extended from the Minister of Culture to the Minister of Culture and Equality. The questions were related to whether it was to give a “queers amnesty” to the Deputy Leader of the Christian Democrats, Kjell Ingolf Ropstad, or whether it was because Grande herself had a strong desire to take over the policy area. Grande confirms that it was the latter to NTB.
“Ropstad wanted something from me, namely the Faith and Perception of Life Department, and I did not give it away for nickles and dimes. We, therefore, demanded to provide our primary choice for what we wanted in return. It was crystal clear that matters regarding Equality – which is something the Liberals has craved for a long time, was what we would opt for,” Grande explains.
Woes the voters
The extension of Grande’s title was the only change affecting the Liberals in the Government reorganising after the Christian Democrat’s entry with three Cabinet Ministers.
Both Almeland and Grande now hope to show more of the Liberal’s liberal policies to potential voters. Since the party first entered the Government last winter, the party has remained stable below the barrier threshold in the polls.
“It was very important for the Liberals to promote the Equality policy into a Government. It is for the first time in forty years that we have had this responsibility since Eva Kolstad became the world’s first Gender Equality Ombudsman, and I feel this field has now come home to a party that helped it into the beau monde,” Grande emphasises.
I hope this helps people see the liberal values on which the Liberals are founded and that we become more recognisable as a liberal party, she continues.
Promises change of step
the Leader of the Liberals believes it is unproblematic to raise the field of Equality, even though the value conservative Christian Democrats, whose Deputy Leader has several times repeated that he will not participate in the Pride Parade, is now a member of the Government.
“We are governing on a platform that is very liberal in this field, and we are going to have an active Equality policy,” Grande promises, adding:
“We will both lift the rights of queers and provide for a change in the Equality policy, where we move the focus from the percentages on the top to the bottom of the society, which has helped to build up the gender stereotypes, that has provided us with such an incredibly gender-divided labour market as it currently is.”
For the disabled into the bargain
Several have also expressed concern about the division of responsibility when the Equality field is moved from the Ministry of Children and Family Affairs to Grande’s Ministry of Culture.
The Joint Federation for the Disabled (FFO) demands, among other issues, clarification as to whether the policy related to disabled people will still be part of the Equality policy. Grande asserts that that is the case.
“Both the rights of the disabled, queers and the women is my responsibility, and I believe that it will be a strength. When it comes to disabled persons, there has been a very health biased approach. Now it becomes a more rights-oriented approach, which I believe disabled persons will benefit from,” Grande oponiates.
She also emphasises that she is ready to work with Ropstad on the parts of the Equality field that concerns family and children.
This is now essentially my responsibility, Grande concludes
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today