torsdag 7 november 2013

TIME om svensk genussträvan / TiME on Swedish gender push

This post is in English. Here I explain why to Swedish readers:
Mina inlägg hittills har inletts med en kort resumé: In my English nutshell
Inlägget idag ger glimtar ur ett stort reportage I TIME – och jag hinner inte översätta.

Five pages of TIME November 4, 2013, describe endeavours in Sweden to make gender differences irrelevant. Here I just give glimpses of the content. For the moment my own time does not allow a Swedish summary. 

The purpose of the report was presented in this way:

The report has been written by Lisa Abend. She and her collaborators have done an impressive job.  People enthusiastic about the idea of combatting stereotyped gender differences are interviewed and so are critics. I use quotations but they are all shortened. Here they begin:

Sweden has now reached a critical turning point toward a society where gender doesn’t matter. But for critics Sweden is a dangerous experiment in political correctness that would deny biological realities and impose artificial mandates of sameness.

At the Nicolaigarden preschool in Stockholm they try not to use the words girl or boy at all. One of the most popular toys, for both sexes, is a set of dolls designed to teach about emotions. The dolls are completely naked, which makes it easy to see that they have no distinguishable gender.

Christine Ingebritsen, professor of Scandinavian and women’s studies at the University of Washington.  “They are a sort of postgender now … Sweden is our future.”

In the 2010 national elections, women won 45% of the seats in Parlament  and currently 13 of the country’s 24 ministers are women. Among women ages 15 to 64,71.8% work outside the home, compared with 75.6% of men.

Maria Arnholm, the Minister for Gender Equality: The government has required what it calls “gender mainstreaming”—the incorporation of a gender-equality perspective—at all policy lewels since 1994.

Lina Thomsgard, runs Rättviseförmedlingen, or Equalisters, whose 44,000 members crowdsource the names of female experts in everything from terrorism analysis to disc jockeying and make those lists available to media and other institutions.

The word hen instead of the expression han eller henne (he or she) was first proposed in the 1960s. Now major newspapers employ the pronoun in place of that phrase and so do lawmakers on the floor of Parliament. In 2012 a children’s-book used it instead of either han (he) or hon (she). [I add: after that the use of hen in this broadened sense has become a signal of particularly ardent feminism.]

Many once male professions like medicine, law and journalism now have either equal numbers of both sexes. The careers that remain predominantly male preserves—only 3 % of the Swedish firefighting corps is female, for example—offer affirmative action-type programs to attract more women.

Critics maintain that both the state and other institutions are imposing a whole new set of prejudices and barriers. Elise Claeson, a freelance columnist and author of a book about stay-at-home moms. “They have to reach inside our minds and change them.”

Pär Ström: Society has turned against men, actively discriminating against them in things like child-custody laws and permitting inequality when it favors women. There is no room in public discourse for a discussion of these issues. “The media is almost exclusively feminist, and there’s no room for moderate dissent.”

Ström stopped participating interviews about gender when a public-radio website posted a photo of him with a nail through his head.

Maria Sveland on the other hand, a feminist writer, has been the target of a tremendous amount of vicious hate mail, including a serious death threat.

However: The vast majority of Swedes seem to be on board with their nation’s experiment in closing the gender gap.

I consider his report valuable!  

As valuable as another TIME gender report I have studied.   In my book Kvinnan, mannen, tidsandan och den fria tanken (The woman, the Man, the Spirit of the Time) I commented a comprehensive report in TIME March 7 2006: WHO SAYS A WOMAN CAN’T BE EINSTEIN? I now translate my conclusion of that report:

"The TIME report can be used as a medicine against two notions, the one being that gender differences in all essentials are biological, the other that they in all essentials are results of the fact that we are 'socialized' into the different gender rolls. They are obsessions without support in serious research. In the report the authors give evidence both for the fact that genetic differences matter and for the fact that the brain is able to adapt the the individual to the demands of the situation and the environment."

The fate of my book underlines Lisa Abend’s interpretation of the situation in Sweden. The book gives my personal observations from the 1930’s to 2010 on gender inequality and the work against them. There are now gender institutions at all the Swedish universities. Not one of them has shown any interest in this unique testimony, not even gender historians. Evidently people marching under the banner Gender get their field of vision severely limited.