Anne Hellum interviewed on discrimination law in the Nordic region
Nordic Information on Gender (NIKK) has published a comparative article on discrimination law in the Nordic countries where Professor Anne Hellum was interviewed.
Text from the NIKK article:
The Norwegian discrimination laws were recently changed, and since January this year, all discrimination grounds are covered under the same act. As a result of the change, the gender equality act no longer exists, and this has stirred up a storm of protests in the women’s movement. The first Norwegian gender equality act was adopted in 1978 – one year before the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination was established in 1979 and two years before Norway’s ratification of it.
‘Many women’s organisations wanted to keep the gender equality act because it was the fruit of many years of hard work, was very well known and signalled that women are not a minority group in society,’ says Anne Hellum, professor at the Department of Public and International Law, University of Oslo.
Supporters of the new law say it is more user friendly and makes it easier to deal with cases involving multiple grounds of discrimination. Some also point to the benefit of not treating minorities separately and instead placing all types of discrimination under the same umbrella. Hellum stresses that compound discrimination was prohibited also under the old legislation. She thinks that overall, the new law is more difficult to interpret.
‘All discrimination grounds are unique in some ways, and it’s obvious in the work that led up to the new law that they had problems concretely defining them. Instead, they had to settle for an abstract level, which makes it difficult for those who are actually going to use the law in practice,’ she says.