This is the preface of the MiRA Centre’s report (written in Norwegian) about Virtual reality and gender equality

2021 was the year of digital technology. When the UN Millennium Development Goals for Sustainable Development (MDG 2000 – 2015) put poverty and inequality among the world population on the agenda, marginalised groups remained at the bottom of the development scale. With increasing digitalisation, the gap between the poor and the rich has widened, and the lack of access to digital technologies for many has exacerbated existing social and economic disparities.

After a year of closure due to the corona pandemic, the MiRA centre in 2021 actively used digital platforms for its nationwide activities. The centre hosted many webinars, zoom workshops and seminars, and Team meetings and used Facebook, Spotify, Instagram, Twitter, and youtube. However, we discovered that not all women with a minority background had access to digital technology. Moreover, access to the technology itself is not enough, it requires knowledge to use it, and many women with minority backgrounds, especially the elderly, lack basic skills. Therefore, the MiRA centre had a significant investment in digital education so that many more women could get involved and participate in digital activities.

We experienced that existing differences in education, economics, and social class were amplified during the pandemic. To spotlight the digitalisation of society, the centre organised a national conference on topics that one can read in this report, and we also published the critical report “Zoom in – minority women’s access to the digital world”, which is available from the centre.

Despite limited physical meeting places, the MiRA Center continued its comprehensive women’s rights work among minority communities. We made our proposals for an inclusive, diverse society through hearings and input on violence within intimate relationships, health and sexuality, and children and young people’s growing up conditions. One can also read more about our hearings and input to various institutionsin in this report. The MiRA Center believes that the municipalities must establish an inter-municipal inter-agency cooperation model for assessing and handling violence cases in close relationships. Interdisciplinary collaboration can strengthen the follow-up of each individual and, to a greater extent, be able to capture and manage the risk of partner violence and partner killing. We look at violence in close relationships as a pandemic. At the beginning of 2022, there were four murders of women where the perpetrator was in close relation to the victim.

The MiRA centre works for a comprehensive integration and gender equality policy. In addition to cultural and social activities for women and children with a minority background, the MiRA centre contributes professionally to increasing diversity competence in society. In this report, we highlight some issues and hope that these can help increase understanding of the complex situation of minority women. Moreover, this report can be used by public bodies, organisations and individuals who ask for our expertise. 2021 was still the year of the pandemic, but at the same time gave us opportunities to be creative in our immediate surroundings and strengthen our competence in digital platforms. The MiRA Center thanks all contributors to this report and all who engaged at the MiRA Center.

Fakhra Salimi

Head, MiRA Center

March 2022