Life Inscriptions

Listening to podcasts and reading news debating wrinkles, the amount of pressure on looks, and negative influence making great girls & women insecure.

I’ve had my lines for many years now. They become deeper, and more visible when I’m stressed out or tired. My boys call them ski tracks.

These tracks are the marks of a lot of hard work, uphill battle as change agent, engaged discussions, late nights, lots of laughs, responsibilities, worries, sorrow – and loads of joy.

They’re a part of me, just as stretch marks, cellulite, love handles and all the rest that we pick up through life. There will always be something we can be unsatisfied with, should we choose to care. Someone will always be prettier.

Some years ago I decided that if I ever become tempted to fix my body, I’ll rather donate that amount of money to a good cause related to health. It’s a paradox that we spend so much time and resources on small, unimportant things as our own looks, when we’re quite normal, and what really matters is our health.

How often do you actually look at another person, thinking; “my God, look at her/his angry frown line and that forehead”(?) After all, its the personality of people that matters, not their perfect appearance..

A Norwegian songwriter described it so well: “A drawing of laughter we shared. A drawing of autumn dark paths. A drawing of joy we were given. A drawing of places and roads we walked.“

#embraceyourwrinkles #lifeinscriptions

Grateful & Excited: Thank you!!

So finally we were able to reveal my new role and project this week, and I just have to thank everyone for such an amazing flood of warm and engaged feedback!

The idea of mobilizing all good forces to co-create the world’s best ecosystem for ocean entrepreneurs – with a special focus on impact/sustainability – has been a vision for 10 years. But now the role and timing was finally right.

I have missed my former life as entrepreneur, and within the Oslo Business Region sphere I feel that I can actually get to kick off an entrepreneurial project while being in a great organization. The best of two worlds…!

Just before we launched the news, I spotted a post by Richard Branson on Instagram, which I think really describes my past 6 months. It’s a great advise so I’ll share it with you:

I rested, and now I’m ready to kick ass with loads of engagement. We already received numerous enquiries from players who wants to team up and play a role in the ocean initiative- as well as some who wants to cooperate on sustainability across other sectors. I love the word of mouth effect, which will be extremely important in the collaborative work that lies ahead.

I also feel extremely grateful for the warm welcome I’ve received from the entire team of Oslo Business Region! I’ll share more in what we do and who’s who in the team later – but for now I can just say that it’s a really good group of nice, hard-working, down-to-earth guys who shares the same passion for entrepreneurship. Can’t wait to join properly!

Shipping media and social media has buzzed this week, and here’s some of the coverage. More than 30.000(!) read the press release on LinkedIn alone… And the coolest part – not a dime spent on PR agency..

Featured in Lloyd’s List: Sustainability & Diversity

I spent an hour of the family Easter vacation amidst sunny & snowy Norwegian mountains talking to Lloyd’s List journalist Anastassios, and you can check out what we discussed here (if you have a subscription for Lloyd’s List Maritime Intelligence).

So happy to see how maritime media is starting to increase the focus on diversity and equality- I’ll continue to use every opportunity towards the WISTA International Conference in Tromsø (23-26 October) to push this topic and the extremely important debates. Join me!

An Asset More Profitable Than Oil… #TEDtalk

Before introducing a really good TEDtalk; Did you know that Norway has made billions based on women’s participation in the labor market? Without the increase in female workers, Norway’s onshore GDP would have been 3.300 BNOK lower than it is today.

The average onshore GDP growth in our country has been around 2% annually, and around 10% of this is due to increased use of labor force. This growth primarily comes from female workers.

In other words, assets similar to the entire Norwegian Oil Fund would have been lost if Norwegian women’s labor participation was as low as in the OECD average. Recent research conducted in Norway also shows that if women worked as much as men during the past 40 years, this would have added a 2.300BNOK profit to the economy. To wrap it up; women is good business!

The world finally starts realizing that investing in women is profitable. Japan and South Korea are both at the bottom of the OECD gender equality index. And sharing some key similarities beyond geographical region; masculine cultures, negative financial development and low birth rates. Both needs to boost their economies, and look to Norway & the Nordics for inspiration on how to grow their BNP through increased inclusion of women in the workforce.

A few years ago, I shared my thoughts on innovation & leadership at the Global Woman Leaders Forum in Busan, South Korea. Leaders from across North East Asia were gathered, and I was quite surprised to realize how much focus they had on Scandinavia experiences/models, and the amount of inspiration this region found in what we’ve done in the Nordic/Scandinavian countries.

Being born during the past decades, as a woman in a developed country, is like winning a global lottery. We have access to education & opportunities our female ancestors couldn’t dream of, and hold the opportunity of choosing our own spouse – or to remain single and independent. We can change the future of our children, and of our societies. But still, there is a long way to go.

My hope for the future is that this opportunity and freedom applies for all women across the world in the future. Without thinking that my own culture is better than other cultures, it’s clear that many countries haven’t yet succeeded in achieving & realizing the potentials brought by equal opportunities. Cultural change takes time, and we need inspiration and proof representing success stories.

Hence, I think that a lot of the Nordic models and experiences on gender equality and workforce robustness can be adjusted to fit other cultures, mixed with new thoughts from across regions and serve as great inspiration for other countries (in completely different parts of the world) who wants & needs to innovate and succeed with a bigger employment rate within their societies.

And as leaders of an increasing number of countries work hard to utilize this potential, I wonder how shipping corporations can adapt the same understanding, linking gender inclusion, best practice sharing and economical growth.

Who will be the diversity champions, demonstrating increased productivity, competitiveness and bottom line results? Which male leaders will contribute in driving this change? When will it be mainstream to realize that investing in women is a good business case? If you still doubt me I would advise you all to check out an excellent diversity front runner – AliBaba! Founder Jack Ma claims female executives are his secret sauce to success.. (China is by the way doing a lot of interesting things in general when it comes to succeeding with diversity, spearheading Asia on this issue…)

With this backdrop I recommend spending some minutes watching this excellent TEDtalk by Norwegian politician Hadia Tajik.

Introduction: “Can you put a price tag on oil? Of course you can. But can you put a price tag on women? Hadia Tajik asks the important question, what is the female workforce worth to the society.”

Norway’s youngest Minister ever shares valuable insights on why and how society can capitalize on 50% of its talents. A thought-provoking TEDx talk for shipping leaders.

Kvinner i et Klyngeperspektiv

Det er mye å feire for oss som er opptatt av å øke kvinneandelen i næringslivet og tilgangen på synlige rollemodeller. Men vi har fortsatt en lang vei å gå. Og da snakker jeg ikke om #MeToo, men om en langt bredere og viktigere diskusjon som vi må løfte frem, skape åpenhet rundt og agere på; de ubevisste holdningene og fordommene som går igjen i hele samfunnet vårt. Det er som en seilbåt med gjengrodd skrog – du ser det ikke på overflaten men først når du dykker litt ned. Det hemmer farten vår, konkurransekraften og innovasjonsevnen, og medfører at vi ikke henter ut nok potensiale blant 50% av den tilgjengelige arbeidskraften.

Jeg er optimist (men også veldig utålmodig) og trekker frem noen favorittsymboler på paradigmeskiftet vi står oppe i, som bør få samtlige ledere i norsk næringsliv til å se en brennende plattform hvor du må ta grep for å ikke sakke akterut;

  • Det første WEF kvinnepanelet med vår egen statsminister i Davos
  • FSN Capital Partners’ nye krav til at ansatte skal ta pappaperm (det bør bli smittsomt..)
  • DNBs storsatsning, med bl.a økt andel kvinner i konsernledelsen, pengepott for å utjevne lønnsforskjeller, og utøvelse av kundemakt gjennom krav til kjønnsbalanse hos leverandører av juridiske tjenester
  • DNV GLs langvarige arbeid med å forbedre hele rekrutteringsløpet basert på faktabasert kunnskap om kvinner vs menn i utlysning-, søknads- og seleksjonsprosesser
  • #HunSpanderer – som har gjort enormt mye for å spre kunnskap om ubevisste fordommer og holdninger
  • I min egen bransje har det aldri før vært så mange og synlige kvinner som nå, og jeg opplever en reell vilje og sterkt engasjement fra ledere såvel som unge for å gønne på ytterligere
  • Menn i min bransje som nekter å stille på konferanser om det ikke er kvinnelige talere, og alle de mannlige lederne som engasjerer seg skikkelig for å ta grep
  • Menn og kvinner som løfter frem og inspirerer talenter med flerkulturell bakgrunn – likestilling oppnås ikke om vi ikke får bukt med utfordringene du møter når du har et ikke-norskt navn

Vi har endelig, på tvers av bransjer, begynt å snakke åpent om den store elefanten i rommet. Der svært mange tidligere har hevdet at det ikke er noe problem å være kvinne i en mannsdominert bransje (dvs man tilpasser seg over tid, og blir etterhvert litt blind), fordi man ikke ønsker å stemples som sutrete eller pinglete, eller identifiseres som “gammeldags” rødstrømpe, åpner flere og flere opp om egne erfaringer. Og det settes ofte andre forventninger til kvinnelige ledere. Etter mange samtaler om dette med kvinner fra alle mulige deler av næringslivet, og på veldig ulike nivåer vil jeg spesielt trekke frem følgende erfaringer som går igjen;

  • Det kan være en fordel å være kvinne, du er lettere synlig og det er mye backing både fra menn og kvinner, så du kan fint få åpninger og sjansen til å bevise hva du er god for
  • Kvinner er ikke lenger kvinner verst, nå står svært mange skulder ved skulder, og løfter flinke folk frem
  • Det blir stadig flere talentprogram, mentorordninger, og man deler erfaringer langt mer åpent rundt hvordan man bedre kan håndtere situasjoner man kommer opp i
  • Det er for mange i økende grad ikke lenger slik at man er kun én kvinne rundt bordet, et viktig kriterie for å lykkes
  • Mange må fortsatt jobbe hardere for å bli tatt på alvor og argumentere bedre enn sine mannlige kolleger
  • Mange får sjokk i etableringsfasen, i form av å bli forbigått, fratatt resultatansvar, ekskludert fra viktige prosjekter, etc
  • Det kan ofte være andre forventninger til hvor myk og menneskelig en kvinnelig leder skal være. Og menn kommer lettere unna følelsesladede utbrudd, eller sololøp
  • Kvinner hentes oftere inn til lederstillinger først når bedriften/området har utfordringer, og avlønnes oftere lavere enn mannlige kolleger i samme roller
  • Du kan regne med å bli stilt til veggs på om du virkelig er villig til å prioritere det som skal til for å være leder (den viktigste jobben i verden er jo tross alt å være mamma..). Om du lar det gå inn på deg er ditt eget valg
  • Du må kanskje være bedre forberedt, flinkere. Ofte er veien fortsatt kortere om du er hvit norsk mann 40+

Først når vi adresserer et problem kan vi ta tak og løse det. Det finnes enormt mye best-practice rundt i ulike virksomheter, og hver enkelt bedrift trenger definitivt ikke å finne opp hjulet på nytt.

I norsk maritim næring er vi ledende på å utvikle verdens beste løsninger på komplekse og krevende utfordringer. Det er god butikk for AS Norge, takket være en unik tradisjon for å gå sammen om å utvikle de beste løsningene gjennom klyngesamarbeid, på tvers av siloer. I tillegg konkurrerer de samme aktørene mot hverandre om å være best – det skjerper og løfter evnen til å strekke seg enda litt lenger.

Enda bedre butikk kan det bli om vi i større grad benytter samme metode og mindset for å forbedre kvinneandelen. På samme måte som vi kun vil oppnå store nok kutt av CO2-utslipp gjennom å ta i bruk et helt spenn av teknologier og jobbe på tvers av fagfelt og virksomheter, vil vi kun lykkes med mangfold dersom vi tar i bruk en tilsvarende god verktøykasse av ulike løsninger.

Mitt ønske for 2018 er at bedrifter over hele landet konkurrerer i langt større grad om å være best på rekruttering og utvikling av sine kvinnelige talenter, og samtidig jobber sammen om å dele de beste erfaringene fra hvordan man kan lykkes. Her er det viktig at dette ikke kun blir en diskusjon for ulike kvinnefora, men at vi finner løsninger ved å involvere gutta. Gulrota for oss alle, på tvers av kjønn, er at vi leverer bedre resultater og mer kroner inn til velferdsstaten.

Her vil jeg kaste ballen videre til mannlige ledere i meglerhus, advokatbyrå, finans, shipping, eiendom, byggebransjen, energisektoren, IT og andre som henger etter; sett dere inn i businesscasene for hvorfor det er lønnsomt å lykkes med kvinner. Still opp som mentor for jentene. Hack andre bedrifters beste erfaringer! Snakk med deres egne kvinnelige ansatte om hva som skal til for å utvikle og beholde dem gjennom den fasen hvor dere mister flest talenter; etableringsfasen. Her kan dere investere billig og hente ut en svært pen avkastning.

Og til alle jenter der ute – kick ass og skaff deg både kvinnelig og mannlig mentor. Og husk at det har aldri vært en mer spennende tid å være jente i norsk næringsliv!

God 8.mars!!

Update from our Women for Women Int. fundraising on 8 March; WOOWWWWW!!!

Who´d have thought 1,5 month ago, starting from scratch with the 8 March planning, that we´d manage to raise some 50.000 NOK for future female business women? Starting to work on our little idea, brought to the table by Susan Clark (of Nordisk Skibsrederforening), we decided to make Saturday 8 March matter this year. To put solidarity in the front seat, and see how we could create an inspirational event for a good cause. You can read more about the Women for Women International and their social entrepreneurship to empower female victims of war here, as I previously wrote an article on their incredible origin and history… Our headline for the day “The new definition of a Business Woman” describes it quite well, and to me it states so clearly that whether we´re based here in Oslo or in Lagos, Kabul, Sarajevo or Kigali, we all have an important role to play in the ongoing generation shift towards a more open, equal and sustainable global society.

I must say that I´m overwhelmingly amazed!!! Amazed by our fantastic contributors, recruited through Facebook and our networks, who generously donated their own works or art they had at home. Amazed by a number of ab-fab companies, who sponsored our goodie bags with really nice items to pamper our guests – around 70 dedicated and hard working business women. Amazed by the great bunch of women who has been involved in organising the event – not to mention that I am completely and utterly euphoric for our fantastic guests, who put their money where their heart was and enthusiastically placed their bids, building the support for new sponsorships one by one. Madeline Albright said there´s a special place in hell for women who don´t support other women. If that´s the case, I am certain that all of you mentioned above will get a special place in heaven! <3

Working with the WISTA/YoungShip/Høye Hæler event to the benefit of Women for Women Int. has been extremely rewarding, and I am just so happy! Didn´t know if I should laugh or cry (or both) when we got the final auction results, this actually helps more than 20 women turn their lives around – it makes a huge impact and difference for them, their families and their communities…

You guys are the best!!! Joining the 8th March appeals after the gathering at Café de Concert, I kept thinking that changing the world doesn´t require more than one simple thing; for us to engage – care – take action! 🙂

Save the date for next year already now! We´ll be back, and as we only spent 1,5 month to prepare this, imagine what we can achieve with 1 year of dedicated & enthusiastic efforts…. 😉 As one of the driving forces of the WfWi program stated it; “One woman can change anything – many women can change everything!”

Sponsors: Nordisk Skibsrederforening, Baker Hansen, Dagens Næringsliv, KK, Henne, Max Factor, Mary Kay, Clarins, Mester Grønn

Contributors (donations): Grieg Shipping Group v/Elisabeth Grieg, Astrup Fearnley museum of modern art, Jørgen Holen, Laila Hansen, Tone Kristiansen, Ingjo Hjertholm, Sissel Aurland, Lena Eidem, Marion Hansen, Trine Rasch-Willumsen, Anne Grete Istad, Ragnhild Willumsen – and our great project group; Susan Clark, Laila Hansen, Nina Grieg, Paige Young & Eva Charlotte Stenset

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Beyond borders – greeting from Ghana!

Really motivational to read the below message on the Women´s Day yesterday 🙂

When blogging from various locations, though mostly from Norway, I don´t always think about how far a simple post can travel these days. I really enjoy that my readers are widely spread through all continents, and Rekia´s message was a nice reminder that you don´t need to meet in person to inspire each other… Rekia work for the Port Authorities of Ghana, and it will be most exciting to see if she´ll pursuit the idea of applying for Ghanese membership to YoungShip.

Our industry is full of hard-working girls & boys, all over the world. They are the future for securing and improving the bloodstream of world trade and a functioning global economy, and I am so proud to see that YoungShip can be a good tool and channel for strengthening their motivation and joint efforts for continuously making our industry better. More innovative, open, transparent and sustainable 🙂

Happy Sunday!

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Congratulations Tunisia!! Aftermath of the Arab Spring

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Just when you thought the Arab Spring had turned into a cold autumn…

Tunisia; last week your leaders took a great step for human rights and the environment. I am definitely putting you back on my destination list for places to re-visit!

Background; I was among the many who signed petitions, supported campaigns and followed the news updates of the early uprises of the Arab Spring when it first broke the surface. However, since 3 important female leaders received the Nobel Peace Price 2 years ago, we haven´t heard too many good news about the battles, losses and victories for the brave women of the Middle East and North African region.

But today, reading the latest update from Tunisia, my heart did some double beats! Following the revolution and thanks to some brave decision makers, the new Tunisian Constitution is quite unique! So while the new Norwegian government is taking small steps to reduce equality & women´s rights, its good to know that other countries are moving in the right direction.

Tunisia´s key achievements to be inspired by;

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  • Guaranteed equality between men and women
  • A constitutional mandate for environmental protection, only the third country in the world to do so
  • A declaration that health care is a human right, with preventative care and treatment for every citizen
  • democracy with civil laws that respects freedom of religion
  • An established right to due process and protection from torture

Not only does it support the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, but it specifically states that the Tunisian state shall protect women´s existing rights and seek to support and further develop them. The government also takes on the responsibility to guarantee equal opportunities between men and women in all fields(!), and to achieve gender equality in the government. Not to mention, the state shall also take required measures to eliminate violence against women.

I am speechless, in awe, full of respect and admiration of this fantastic development! I want to applaud all the brave women (and men) who initiated the revolution and planted the first seeds of change, enabling this fantastic development.

A warm and happy hug & have a great weekend!

P.S.: For those of you who are a little bit more interested in human rights & environment than average, here are three highlights describing some of the most progressive of these guarantees:

1. Climate change Given the conservative attempts to shut down the Environmental Protection Agency and deny the very existence of climate change, it would seem improbable at best that the U.S. will mention conservation efforts in the Constitution anytime soon. But Tunisia has done just that. “Contribution to a sound climate and the right to a sound and balanced environment shall be guaranteed,” the constitution promises. “The state shall provide the necessary means to eliminate environmental pollution.” Given Tunisia’s location in the Maghreb, with portions of the country within the Sahara Desert, the state also is given custody over ensuring the “conservation and rational use of water” as one of its duties.

2. Health care Health care policy-making in Tunisia’s capital of Tunis has also managed to leapfrog that in Washington as of Monday. “Health is a right for every person,” the document announces, declaring that Tunisia shall “guarantee preventative health care and treatment for every citizen and provide the means necessary to ensure the safety and good quality of health services.” Even as the U.S. begins to implement the Affordable Care Act, and Republican governorsblock the implementation of the portions that expand Medicaid, the new Tunisian constitution promises “free health care for those without support and those with limited income.”

3. Women’s rights The new constitution also goes further than the American version in explicitly promoting women’s rights, a goal of the now-dormant push to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. “The State shall commit to protecting women’s achieved rights and seek to support and develop them,” the constitution reads. “The State shall guarantee equal opportunities between men and women in the bearing of all the various responsibilities in all fields.”

The draft version also committed the government to try to balance the number of men and women serving in elected councils, which would far outstrip the current 82-17 split between the two in the U.S. Congress last year. Given thestruggle to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act in the United States last year, it would seem that Tunisia has American beat there as well. “The state shall the necessary measures to eliminate violence against women,” the constitution guarantees.

4. Workers’ rights Tunisia’s laborers get a huge boost under the new constitution, particularly in comparison to their American counterparts. Under the terms of the document, the right to form trade unions in guaranteed along with all of the powers that grants laborers — including the ability to strike. Members of the army and security services are the one exception to this rule, while unions and all other political parties and associations are required to reject violence and abide by all areas of the law.

The constitution also promises that all citizens, male and female alike, shall “have the right to adequate working conditions and to a fair wage.” As the debate over raising the minimum wage kicks off anew in the U.S. — and women are still paid far less than their male counterparts for similar jobs — the Tunisian guarantees look almost idyllic.

http://act.watchdog.net/petitions/4238?l=sAKAeuGMxPU

http://thinkprogress.org/security/2014/01/27/3206701/4-ways-tunisia-progressive-america/

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