By Bonnie Davidson
The Courier 

Norwegian Women's Rep Visits Glasgow

 

Bonnie Davidson / The Courier

Steim Anders Molvig, left, stands next to his mom, Gerd Louise Myhre Molvig, a member of the Associated Country Women of the World and a delegate from Norway to the United Nations. Next to her is their family in Glasgow, Alice and Lee Tracy. Molvig and her son visited this week.

While we're home of the Glasgow Scotties, you won't be finding a lot of Scots in the area. What you will find is plenty of Norwegian names and heritage in the area. Some families came to homestead, others found their way here with plenty of family ties close by.

This week a Norwegian representative, family member and women's rights enthusiast made a stop in Glasgow. Gerd Louise Myhre Molvig came to visit family after a few weeks traveling other areas in the United States. She spent about a week attending a United Nations conference in New York City. Molvig explained that several government and non-government agencies meet up each year for a few weeks in March to discuss issues. Her mission and focus was to look at women's issues. She is a Norwegian delegate who has attended many times before. She's also traveled to 80 countries around the world.

Molvig is a part of the Associated Country Women of the World committee. She explained that the committee is part of the UN and there are women from all over the world serving. She said that she was elected about five years ago, and then was re-elected for the position about a year and a half ago. She said that all her volunteer work during her life led her to the position. She's worked for Christian organizations, the Red Cross and is part of the Soroptomist International.


"I was invited to the Norwegian castle and visited with the king and queen too," Molvig said.

She explained that she and her son Steim Anders Molvig, who is also visiting in Glasgow, marched in New York City during the International Women's Day event on Sunday, March 8, with 50,000 others. It came the day before the session of the Commission on the Status of Women, which Gerd was a part of.

"This year our focus was on speech and women in the media," Gerd said. "We focus on women, peace and security and talked about issues."

She explained that they worked on an action plan to get more women's issues in the media. She explained that there are many concerns, like child marriage, rape and violence against women that are important issues to address. When asked about certain countries they might be focused on she named a few African and Middle Eastern countries, but said there were many countries that they are looking at. She said education on issues was key to tackling some of the bigger problems.

Gerd said that shes been to Geneva for the World Health Organization to discuss education, health and violence issues related to women, but she said they have to include men.

"But today we are 51 percent of the population," she said.

They have focused on trying to get more women in leadership. She herself has been vice mayor in her town of Larkollen for the past four years. She explained that women got the vote in 1913 in Norway, but it wasn't until the 1970s that many activists became more visible and equality became a focus. She said that being a Vice Mayor for her wouldn't have happened in her parents times.


"We want to make sure that people have what they need and they should be happy and no one should suffer," Gerd said.

After time in New York they spent time in Washington D.C. and visited the Capitol for several hours during the legislative season. They went to New Orleans this past weekend and observed several Saint Patrick's Day festivities. "There was green everywhere," she said.

During the interview, both Gerd and Steim shared about their culture and some of the differences between Norway and the United States. Steim was able to go to college for free, but he had to come up with funding for books and materials. Steim got his degree in agriculture and husbandry, but is now working for the post office in Norway, which is fully run by the government.

When asked about the taxes in Norway, he explained that income taxes were around 30 percent at $55,000 per year in income, but once you went over that amount, the taxes would continue to rise, up to as much as 60 percent.

Another interesting tidbit from the duo visiting relatives: They are currently staying with Alice and Lee Tracy. Gerd said that their last name was "protected." Meaning that unless you married a Molvig, you could not change your last name to Molvig. She said that only 300 Molvigs were left in the country.


Meanwhile, Gerd noted that she was a teacher and taught German for many years. She ended up becoming the head mistress of the school. She traveled with students to Germany several times.

She also faced challenges – as she was at the school where nine children were killed in Norway. She described it as a very difficult and traumatic time.

She said that over the years she has faced many challenges, such as losing two husbands. One died in a small airplane crash when she had two young daughters, and the other died from cancer in 2001. She said that she still believes in God and is happy to have her four children and soon to be 10 grandchildren. She said that her family has been a great comfort.

Gerd visited Glasgow 18 or 19 years ago. She said she enjoys the area because it's much quieter and it also reminds her of home. She explained she spent 40 years of her life on a farm and being in a farm community was home to her. They'll possibly visit Canada this week and head for home on Friday.

 

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