Permanent Delegates of Member States of the Executive Board of UNESCO met on 14 February at a ‘Barbershop‘ event hosted by the Permanent Delegation of Iceland. The purpose of Barbershop events is to provide tools for participants of all genders, especially men, to address gender inequality, enable a dialogue and encourage them to become agents of change by making proactive commitments to gender equality at home, at work and society.
Audbjörg Halldórsdóttir, Permanent Delegate of Iceland, welcomed participants followed by a video address delivered by the Prime Minister of Iceland, H.E. Katrín Jakobsdóttir. Begoña Lasagabaster, Director of the UNESCO Division of Gender Equality, opened the event and Dr. Thomas Brorsen Smidt from GRÓ GEST – UNESCO Gender Equality Studies and Training Programme and Dr. Gary Barker, CEO of Equimundo, gave presentations and inspirational speeches. Audur Edda Jökulsdóttir, Special Envoy for Gender Equality delivered an address where she gave an overview to Iceland‘s commitments to gender equality. The event was closed by Gabriela Ramos, Assistant Director-General of the Social and Human Sciences Sector at UNESCO.
Lively discussions took place in an interactive workshops where participants were invited to reflect on how gender and gender norms have impaced their lives. Ásdís Ólafsdóttir, the author of the Barbershop Toolbox and master of ceremony, headed a discussion on possible solutions and actions participants could take to bring them forward.
The Barbershop series started with a high-level conference in New York in 2015 under the leadership of UN Women, as part of Iceland‘s commitments to the HeForShe movement. It has since been implemented across the world to encourage men in different industries to become allies for gender equality. Previous events have been held at international organisations in Geneva, including ILO, WTO and the UN, at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Council of the Baltic Sea States, OECD, the World Bank, OSCE in Vienna and in Copenhagen and Malawi.