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Background: The Gender Equality in the Arctic project

Gender Equality in the Arctic (GEA) is a project of the Arctic Council’s Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG).

The project focuses on gender equality with an emphasis on diversity in terms of discourses, Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, governance, education, economies, and social realities. The GEA project strives to contribute to sustainability and balanced participation in leadership and decision making both in the public and private sectors.

The GEA project’s third phase of work was endorsed by the SDWG in Spring 2019. It forms part of the Icelandic Arctic Council Chairmanship Program – Together Towards a Sustainable Arctic. The Chairmanship Program has four main priority areas: The Arctic Marine Environment; Climate and Green Energy Solutions; People and Communities of the Arctic; and a Stronger Arctic Council. GEA III falls under the priority People and Communities of the Arctic which includes initiatives that aim to promote the wellbeing of the roughly four million people living in the region. The project is currently managed by the Icelandic Arctic Cooperation Network.

The Arctic Council’s GEA project was launched in 2013 by Iceland, Finland, Kingdom of Denmark, Norway and the Aleut International Association in cooperation with the Stefansson Arctic Institute and the Icelandic Centre for Gender Equality. During its first phase, an international conference, Gender Equality in the Arctic – Current realities, future challenges, was organized. The conference took place in Akureyri, Iceland, in October 2014. One of the project’s main outcomes was the Gender Equality in the Arctic – Current realities, future challenges Report published in 2015.

The second phase of the GEA project involved building a network of experts and creating a website to promote and expand the dialogue on gender equality in the Arctic. GEA II established a formal network of groups and experts interested in issues related to gender equality in the Arctic, encouraged cooperation with and between existing networks on gender equality in the Arctic, and provided an online platform for material and events relevant to Arctic gender equality.

The third phase of GEA is funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs. GEA III will produce a pan-Arctic report on gender and diversity in the Arctic - identifying priorities and concrete strategies for increased diversity and gender balance in policy- and decision-making processes and providing information to facilitate sustainable policy making for the future. The report will be released in 2021.

Moreover, GEA III is publishing a digital quarterly newsletter, focusing on disseminating information about the status of GEA III and highlighting gender-related topics in the Arctic. Contributions from as many, and as diverse individuals and groups as possible, are encouraged to represent the various realities that people in the Arctic inhabit.

For further information you can visit the Gender Equality in the Arctic website; the project’s Facebook group or follow GEA on Twitter.