Two young, well dressed fathers pushed their prams past me as I made my way to the National History Museum.
That was my first weekend in Sweden, I had heard about gender equality in Sweden but to see it was something else.
This is world’s first feminist government, it says proudly on the website of the Swedish government.
Whats that, I hear you ask.
I asked that too.
Basically it means that, “gender equality perspective is brought into policy-making on a broad front, both nationally and internationally.” It’s called gender mainstreaming.
I had to google what gender mainstreaming meant. Here’s a video about it.
This policy led to criticisms of Saudi Arabia in 2015 and a diplomatic row that escalated.
The gender equality of the nordic region is the most advanced in the world and in light of recent events across the Atlantic, this region in the world will perhaps be expected to shine the flag of gender equality even more brightly.
The core of gender equality is the word equality. Men are not worth more than women and vice versa and that is an admirable goal. It is a economic and sensible one too. Any business would want the best people to work for them and in most cases, it doesn’t matter what sex the person is, so it makes logical sense to support equality.
For example, it’s not everyday that you see male kindergarten teachers.
Or fathers who nurse their children for that matter when they are given paternity leave.
Or as they are called in Sweden, Latte Papas.
Then again, the most powerful country in the world doesn’t even guarantee paid maternity leave. So we still have a long way to go with maternity leave, let alone paternity leave.
Gender quality is a touchy subject, that’s obvious. I think it’s because equal and same constantly get confused, being the same in human dignity and rights doesn’t mean that male and female are completely the same. There are biological differences and then there are social constructs.What we want to get rid of are the harmful social constructs and respect that the biology that has evolved is equally important. Then also that individuals also have differences and that even people of the same sex can have different genders and behaviours and that it just means they are different in what they like.
That’s what I think anyway.
This has created a gender equality paradox.
It’s probably clear which side I err on in the video above.
But there is a reason why, despite the zig-zag of such a movement, gender equality is broadly the right thing to do. Acknowledging that men can want to look after children and women can want to have a career is natural, asking boys not to cry and girls not to think is not.
The fact that man are seen as equal to women and kindergarten teachers and women’s work as respected as men’s (so they can both take turns to look after children), these are positive steps in breaking down social constructs.