The Barbershop Conference, which is an initiative taken by Iceland and Suriname and aims at rallying men and boys to commit to upholding gender equality, will be held at the United Nations in New York on 14-15 January 2105. The Conference will bring together politicians, diplomats, celebrities and gender equality campaigners to discuss gender equality and how men need to be a part of this important discourse. The Conference will conclude with a high-level event which will be broadcast live on www.barbershopconference.org at 16.00 GMT.
When addressing an international conference on gender equality a decade ago Madame Vigdís Finnbogadóttir of Iceland, the world's first democratically elected female President said: „We must get men to the table when it comes to gender equality,” and continued by asking; “Where are the men?”. “It is worrying that her question is still as valid today as it was ten years ago, let alone twenty years ago in Beijing during the Fourth World Conference on Women,“ says Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
During the Barbershop Conference, Government Ministers, gender equality experts and representatives of States and civil society will discuss ways to get men to engage in the fight for gender equality. Among the speakers addressing the High-level event are Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Donald McPherson, former NFL player and sports analyst, Gabriel Wikström, Swedish Minister for Public Health, Healthcare and Sports, rapper Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre, Todd Minerson, Executive Director White Ribbon Campaign, and Magnús Scheving, actor, entrepreneur and founder of Lazytown. Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, former President of Iceland, Lt. General David Morrison of Australia and other notable persons will address the conference by video and the closing remarks will be given by the Executive Director of UN Women, Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.
The Barbershop Conference is a contribution by Iceland and Surinam to the #HeForShe campaign which UN Women launched in September 2014 in order to involve men in a solidarity movement for gender equality.
The Barbershop theme is to highlight that there are places where men come together with other men and discuss, among other things, women. It is in such environments that the stereotyped roles of women and men are reinforced and the very place where these stereotypes can be changed.