Gender equality glasses

I received an invitation the other day.

Nothing unusual with that. There are many of them coming to any Embassy any day. This one, though, was special. Even more special than I understood in the moment considering it – and accepting.

What I had received was an invitation from Fundacja Izabeli Jarugi-Nowackiej to the award ceremony of “Okulary równosci” – equality glasses.

Izabela Jaruga-Nowacka was a former Plenipotentiary for equality between men and women, eventually becoming Deputy Prime Minister around eight years ago. Also described as a committed advocate for LGBT-people i.e. for gay rights.

She tragically passed away in the terrible plane crash in Smolensk two years ago that killed so many prominent Poles, among them the former President.

After communication with my colleague at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Stockholm, Jan Amberg, I realised that this gender equality award had quite a special background. It was initiated by Ms Jaruga-Nowacka after inspiration from Swedenwhere the concept of equality glasses had been introduced by our former Minister Margareta Winberg (in connection to the Swedish EU Presidency).

And it is still there. The rewards are still presented to energetic, committed advocates for rights. Women’s rights, LGBT-rights, minority rights. So many courageous people standing there on the scene being nominated for the three different awards. One among the fifteen nominees being Anna Grodzka, the first transsexual MP inEurope, who was awarded in the category for minority rights (if I correctly understood the presentation in Polish).   

There was even a special “award” for people who could need to meet an optician… But presented with smiles rather than anything else.

An inspiring evening for my wife Karin and myself. Many new contacts. And certainly giving food for thought when preparing a speech for next week – for International Women’s Day.


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