Women’s rights in Scandinavia ought not be taken for granted. Those are the words of warning from well-known feminists who point out that being called ”feminist” in Denmark and Finland is almost invective. This week a big forum for feminism opens in Malmö, focusing on women’s rights.
Professor of political science at Stockholm University, Drude Dahlerup, says, ”The Nordic forum will be a feminist mobilization and a way to put pressure on the politicians.” Dahlerup says that though the Nordic countries have long been recongnized as the most equal in the world, women’s rights should not be taken for granted.
”We’ve been sustained by the thought that we are the best in the world here in the north, and that it just gets better and better. But we have been like Sleeping Beauty. There’s a real threat of a backlash globally and also here in Scandinavia.” She gives the example of how Norway’s new government has reduced the number of parental leave weeks specifically for fathers from 14 to 10 weeks, and that in Denmark there’s no parental leave at all for fathers. ”I think Denmark increasingly goes its different way by believing the state should not interfere and that is an attitude that can be dangerous; legislation is a way of protecting women’s rights. In Denmark, feminism is looked down upon.” Professor and gender expert Tiina Rosenberg at the University of Arts in Helsinki says the same applies to Finland: ”It is felt that we’re already equal, so why go on talking about it?” For more information about the feminist forum in Malmö: http://nf2014.org/en/