20 Feb 2017 |
“The first feminist government in the world” – that is how the Swedish government describes itself. So how is that feminist agenda taking effect? Read the interview with our Secretary General in BBC News.
Sweden is famous for its generous parental leave provisions, allowing parents a total of almost 18 months off work, most of it on 80% of full pay.
However, women still take the lion’s share (75%) of paid parental leave. And of those forced to work part-time due to caring for a child or adult relative, almost nine out of 10 are women.
Both the Social Democrats and Greens say they want to divide the parental leave equally among women and men, and recently they increased the time reserved for the father, or “daddy months”, from two to three.
“That is a good thing and it will have an effect,” says Clara Berglund, leader of the Swedish Women’s Lobby, an umbrella organisation for women’s rights. “But if you are a feminist government, why not have the courage to go all the way?”
Ms Berglund is also unhappy that the government recently scrapped plans to introduce quotas for the number of women on the boards of listed companies.
And she says it has been slow to move against sexist advertising, despite pre-election promises. She points instead to London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s ban last year on “body shaming” ads in the underground.
“Sweden is the only Nordic country not to have legislation against sexist ads,” she says. “If it can be done in London, there can be no excuse for a feminist government not to move forward on this.”
Despite her criticism, however, Ms Berglund believes that, with conservative movements on the rise in many Western countries, Sweden must identify itself as feminist – even if it is hard for the government to live up to high expectations.
“They have made some changes that are important for gender equality,” she says. “But we have great expectations from the women’s movement. A feminist government should have the courage to implement unpopular reforms.”
Read the full BBC News article written by David Crouch, here.