Norway's female MPs tell women to 'give a damn'

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Ann Törnkvist - [email protected]
Norway's female MPs tell women to 'give a damn'
Heidi Nordby Lunde when nominated by her party. File photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen/Scanpix

'Maybe women deserve men setting the agenda," a conservative female politician said Friday as emotions ran high over a study that showed men know more about politics than women, and that the gender gap was wider in Norway than in comparable countries such as Australia.


"Men work full-time, they take responsibility at home, and they still keep up to date with the news. Maybe we then deserve to have men setting the agenda and political priorities,"  said Høyre party politician Heidi Nordby Lunde, who is number seven on the party's list for Oslo in the upcoming national elections to parliament, 

The Local reported on Thursday that researchers in Bergen had taken part in a global study comparing men's and women's knowledge of politics. Despite having a high proportion of women in the work force and being seen as a Scandinavia equalty success tale, Norway's gender gap was wider than in other comparable countries, including Australia, Canada, Colombia, Greece, Italy, Japan, South Korea, the UK, and the US, 

In Norway, men who took part in a QnA answered political questions correctly in 73 percent of the time. Women, on the other hand, only managed to answer just about half of the questions. 

"It's embarrassing that we found this out after just celebrating 100 years of women's right to vote," Lunde told the NRK network on Friday. 

As news broke on Thursday, Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet) MP Marianne Marthinsen said that men clearly had more time on their hands to consume media.

"Maybe it's still like that because dad reads the paper at the breakfast table while mum's talking to the kids," she told the NRK network

Lunde, however, had little patience for that argument. 

"Some 41 percent of Norwegian women work part-time, while men have taken more responsibility at home," she said, adding that if Norwegian women worked full-time they would learn more about the news and current issues by just being at their workplace. 

"Think about the discussions around the lunch table, the chit chat over a cup of coffee, what input you get at seminars and conferences," she said.  

Marthinsen, meanwhile, decided to take issue with the lack of knowledge among her fellow women by publishing five points of advice on her blog.

- Stop thinking that having a discussion is the same things as having an argument
- Trust your own arguments even if you do not have a Ph.D in the topic
- Realize that men taking part in a debate aren't always as sure of things as they pretend
- Give a damn
- Learn the rules


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