Employment and youth high priorities

New plan of action against racism and discrimination

Photo: Tonje Brenna
From left to right: Minister of Labor and Social Inclusion Tonje Brenna, attorney Servet Yildiz Stêrk, Betina Belegu, and Nilofar Nori from the Directorate of Integration and Diversity’s youth committee, and Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.

Regjeringen.no
Oslo

The Norwegian government is launching a new action plan against racism and discrimination, prioritizing racism and discrimination on the path to and during employment, in youth arenas, and on the local municipal level.

Minister for Labor and Social Inclusion Tonje Brenna (Labor Party) met representatives from the Directorate of Integration and Diversity’s (IMDi) youth panel.

“When racism and discrimination are allowed to prevail, living conditions become worse, the chances of employment are fewer, health outcomes are poorer, and school attendance is inadequate. In extreme cases, racism and hatred can take lives. We have also seen that in Norway. With the new action plan, we are working toward a society with stronger communities and equal opportunities for everyone,” said Brenna.

The action plan against racism and discrimination is the entire government’s action plan. Nine ministries are involved. In the 50 measures, the government focuses mostly on measures within employment, youth arenas, and on the local level.

Employment

Racism and discrimination take place on the pathway to employment and on the way up in the workplace. Therefore, the action plan emphasizes measures to prevent this, including assistance to employers. Measures include a campaign aimed at raising awareness among employers.

“Unfortunately, a person with a foreign-sounding name is still at a disadvantage when applying for a job,” said the minister for labor and social inclusion. “We also need to increase the union membership rate among immigrants so that more can report it if they are exposed to racism and discrimination in their workplaces.”

Youth

“When you experience racism or discrimination, it is important that someone listens to you and believes what you say. We have received a lot of input about that. The government wants children and young people who are exposed to racism and discrimination to know where they can get help, and that they have more places to go,” said Brenna.

Diversity advisers at schools must give advice and guidance to students who are experiencing racism and discrimination. The government is strengthening preventive efforts against bullying and infringement, and making arrangements for a more inclusive school environment for everyone. Ung.no, Norway’s official information channel for young people, will strengthen its guidance work on racism and discrimination.

Local efforts

Many municipalities do good work to combat racism and discrimination. Several municipalities have action plans, low-threshold programs, and information. But we know that there are big differences between municipalities. That is why there are several measures in the action plan that support municipal efforts with funding and guidance – and for municipalities to learn from each other.

Continuous and long-term effort

The work against racism and discrimination requires long-term and continuous effort. It is the work of many.

There are laws against discrimination, and there is an enforcement apparatus in place. At the same time, there are many who do not know what to do when they are exposed to racism and discrimination. This will be addressed in the plan by reviewing the enforcement apparatus, among other things.

On developing this plan, a number of actors have provided input about challenges and measures: The Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities, employers, nonprofit organizations, IMDi’s youth panel, researchers, individuals, the Sámi parliament, and relevant governing authorities.

The Ministry of Labor and Inclusion, in collaboration with IMDi and the Directorate for Children, Youth and Families (Bufdir), has organized input meetings in Bergen, Haugesund, Hamar, Karasjok, Kristiansand, Oslo, Tromsø, and Trondheim.

Examples of measures

In employment:

Campaign against discrimination aimed at employers

More immigrants in trade unions

Develop indicators for ethnic diversity in employment

Research on immigrants in employment

More knowledge about how to monitor employment harassment, racism, and discrimination

For youth:

Strengthen the work to develop safe and supportive school environments

Diversity advisers must give advice and guidance to students who are exposed to racism and discrimination

Strengthen the work against racism at ung.no

Measures against discrimination in the rental market

Map the extent of direct and indirect discrimination in banks’ lending practices

Locally:

Subsidies and guidance on municipal work against racism and discrimination

Regional gatherings for the exchange of experiences and skills development

Annual conference against racism, on national and local levels

In addition, the government had announced that its work against racism and discrimination will be strengthened. In the years to come, a separate action plan against Sámi incitement will be presented. New action plans against anti-Semitism and hatred and discrimination against Muslims will also be developed.

Read the Norwegian press release at: regjeringen.no/no/aktuelt/prioriterer-arbeidsliv-og-ungdom/id3015498/

This article originally appeared in the January 2024 issue of The Norwegian American.

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