Why Scandinavian women make the rest of the world jealous.

Swarup Biswas shared this link, and not surprisingly there were some comments about India’s ‘glorious past‘ where men who abducted  ‘other men’s wives’ lost their kingdoms. It seems women today expect a little more than that kind of glorious life. Do read the article to read what can make women (and automatically those who share the planet with them) happier.

Let me share some bits from, Why Scandinavian women make the rest of the world jealous

Icelanders are among the happiest and healthiest people on Earth. They publish more books per capita than any other country, and they have more artists. They boast the most prevalent belief in evolution – and elves, too. Iceland is the world’s most peaceful nation (the cops don’t even carry guns), and the best place for kids. Oh, and they had a lesbian head of state, the world’s first. Granted, the national dish is putrefied shark meat, but you can’t have everything.

Iceland is also the best place to have a uterus, according to the folks at the World Economic Forum. The Global Gender Gap Report ranks countries based on where women have the most equal access to education and healthcare, and where they can participate most fully in the country’s political and economic life.


To understand why, let’s take a look at religion. The Scandinavian Lutherans, who turned away from the excesses of the medieval Catholic Church, were concerned about equality – especially the disparity between rich and poor. They thought that individuals had some inherent rights that could not just be bestowed by the powerful, and this may have opened them to the idea of rights for women. Lutheran state churches in Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway and Iceland have had female priests since the middle of the 20th century, and today, the Swedish Lutheran Church even has a female archbishop.

Or maybe it’s just that there’s not much religion at all. Scandinavians aren’t big churchgoers. They tend to look at morality from a secular point of view, where there’s not so much obsessive focus on sexual issues and less interest in controlling women’s behavior and activities. Scandinavia’s secularism decoupled sex from sin, and this worked out well for females. They came to be seen as having the right to sexual experience just like men, and reproductive freedom, too. Girls and boys learn about contraception in school (and even the pleasure of orgasms), and most cities have youth clinics where contraceptives are readily available. Women may have an abortion for any reason up to the eighteenth week (they can seek permission from the National Board of Health and Welfare after that), and the issue is not politically controversial.

Overall Nordic countries devoted fewer resources to the military – the arena where patriarchal values tend to get emphasized and entrenched.

The public sector grew, providing women with good job opportunities. Iceland today has the highest rate of union membership out of any OECD country.

Over time, Scandinavian countries became modern social democratic states where wealth is more evenly distributed, education is typically free up through university, and the social safety net allows women to comfortably work and raise a family. Scandinavian moms aren’t agonizing over work-family balance: parents can take a year or more of paid parental leave. Dads are expected to be equal partners in childrearing, and they seem to like it.

The folks up north have just figured out – and it’s not rocket science! – that everybody is better off when men and women share power and influence. They’re not perfect … But Scandinavians have decided that investment in women is both good for social relations and a smart economic choice. Unsurprisingly, Nordic countries have strong economies and rank high on things like innovation – Sweden is actually ahead of the US on that metric. (So please, no more nonsense about how inequality makes for innovation.)

Maybe one day we’ll decide to follow the Nordic example. But at the moment, we seem to be moving away from Iceland and closer to Yemen. Is that really what we want?

Related Posts:

The “Motherhood Penalty:” The Pay Gap Between Working Moms and Childless Women

Society benefits immensely from childbearing, childrearing, and caregiving work that currently goes unpaid.

DIscussion: If you look at the system in Sweden, many of these suggestions are in place.

Each child’s parents have 480 days of parental leave (can be used till the child is 8years). Of which each parent is entitled to 240 days, but one parent can transfer upto 180 days to the other if needed, but s/he is not allowed to transfer 60 days. Child care and education is free, but child care is not available till the child is 1 year old. So the parents have to (between themselves) take care of the child for its first year. It is as common to see a man pushing a pram or taking the children to the play ground as a woman. The government pays the parents during this time. Sweden is one of the best places to bring up a child, but, also has one of the highest taxes in the world. [comment by Nisha]

“India – A dangerous place to be a woman

88 thoughts on “Why Scandinavian women make the rest of the world jealous.

  1. Too much aggrandizing of Scandinavia I say. Men in Scandinavia are actually turning very violent and domestic violence is a big issue, growing with time. Also, the remark about innovation, though serving no purpose here, was totally counter factual.


    • “Men in Scandinavia are actually turning very violent and domestic violence is a big issue, growing with time.”

      If you expect to be taken seriously, you need to back up [ridiculous] claims such as these with peer reviewed studies.


      • Were you really serious? Never saw a reference to a peer reviewed study on this blog. You can just google to look for domestic violence numbers across Europe and get your answer.


        • First of all, an increase in the reports of domestic violence does not equal a rise in domestic violence itself. It could very well be that given the more open and egalitarian society created, women are feeling more confident about coming forward with claims of domestic abuse than ever before. This is actually a good thing.

          Secondly, what are the rates of conviction for men who are proven to be abusers? How likely are women to be taken seriously in Scandinavian countries when such reports are brought to the attention of the authorities? What sorts of amenities exist for victims, in terms of support, removal, rehabilitation, etc? I guarantee that Scandinavian countries, given the extent of their social support nets, have services for all of these things. Services that countries like India still struggle to produce. Services which put them light years ahead of us.

          Attempting to dismiss the extent to which equality has been achieved in other countries by bringing up a single point doesn’t really negate the rest of the strides that they have done.


        • I remember reading a gender parity report on Sweden and Norway during my Masters’ days. Actually, the high rate of domestic violence in Sweden is attributed to more men coming out to report a violent spouse. The kind of Anglo Centric assumption that men are the primary instigators of DV is a legal fiction in the Scandinavian civil law systems. In fact, Norway had the first conviction of female-on-male rape in present day history.
          Having said that, I think the idea of Scandinavia as some utopia is merely a rose tinted view of the region. I lived next door to Sweden for more than a year and as a Saab pilot, I’d often go to places like Gothenburg, Lulea, etc. Sweden is extremely dangerous for women, especially on Saturday nights – my hometown in India, Shillong is probably safer than Gothenburg is.
          Also, there is an undercurrent of misogyny among Swedish men. I remember a night at a nightclub in Gothenburg, where two women got piss drunk and looked like they’d need someone to accompany them home. My Swedish mates simply left them out on the sidewalk and came back inside, suggesting that ‘since these women can’t drink responsibly, they should find their own way home’. Thats unthinkable even in the so called ‘patriarchial’ India, especially if you’re a group. Most of my Indian peers take it upon themselves to make sure the women they are with, are safely home before heading for their own places.
          Unfortunately, unless you have inserted yourself in the social life of a country, you are unlikely to get a realistic picture of how it really is.


        • Why did you make a claim that was not supported by a link on the same. why do you think a reader should take your claim seriously and google the related information? If you are serious about being taken seriously them substantiate your comments.
          Also, even if there are problems in Scandinavia does that mean one should negate all the positive it has done for its citizens? What kind of measure is it? To shorten a line erase it or chop it instead of drawing your line longer.


    • Why is this being disliked so badly? The commenter has different views about Scandinavia, that’s all. What’s the guarantee the article linked in the original blog post is correct?


      • As a matter of fact I do not have negative views of Scandinavia. I fully support most of the measures that have been described in the article. I just think that we do not have some Utopian solutions for society that will rid us of all evils, neither do we have a standard theory for human interactions which will describe to us all the consequences of certain actions. Some people think they have all figured it out. Improving the society is a constant struggle, and there is no guarantee that applying these measures will automatically make men ( or even women) happier. That part may have to be dealt with parallel measures sometimes.


        • I think what you’re observing is both right and wrong.

          There is zero evidence of your claim that “Men in Scandinavia are actually turning very violent and domestic violence is a big issue, growing with time”

          But it’s true that womens roles at home have equalised at a slower pace than in society. If you think about it, the reasons for that are fairly obvious. The public opinion of the proper role of women have swung over the last 100 years from being allowed to vote and to todays prevailing attitude which is that women and men should have identical rights with the exception of the few things where there’s biological differences. (mainly related to pregnancy)

          But not everyone agrees with these changes. In public, they’re still forced to behave in a way that’s considered acceptable, because if they did not, they’d get in trouble over it. But at home, in the privacy of your own 4 walls, public pressure is non-existant and thus that minority which still have a medieval view of women, can act out more than they can in common.

          In addition, it’s important that you said: “Men in scandinavia” and not “Scandinavian men”, because a sad fact is that we’re importing a lot of these problems. We’re wealthy, and the work-market is good, so we get a lot of immigrants, many of these come from countries where equal rights are not very advanced, and they bring their medieval behaviour with them when moving to Norway.

          A practical and concrete example of this ? Norway has “womens shelters” which are places where people who are abused at home can go to receive protection against violent partners, and legal and practical help with getting a divorce.

          So what do the stats look like ?

          In Oslo, overall, about 15% of the population have non-Norwegian background.

          Of the women who used a Womens shelter in 2012 a stunningly high 80% either where non-norwegian themselves, or had a non-norwegian husband.


        • @Niketan, I imagine that’s because the comment came across as dismissive and defensive. While B may certainly be right in his/her observation, the reasons for it can be nuanced. A higher rate of reporting that be a good thing, it can mean progress. So to use that measure to dismiss the many positive steps that Scandinavian countries have taken is unfair.

          No one is saying these countries are perfect but I think it’s important we look at anyone who has done better and see what we could learn. I cannot agree with being dismissive of this, as a woman, because I live the problem.


        • “Improving the society is a constant struggle”

          I agree with your comment, but they do seem to be further along the particular struggle of gender parity than the Indian sub-continent. I don’t think anyone thinks that these are silver-bullet policies that will cure everything.. but they show an alternative (and more effective) thought process to the one that bans mannequins and stops women from working after 8.


  2. 1 year or more of paid leave to care of the newborn baby? Wow, that does make me envious – but also very, very happy for the parents who get to avail of this facility.


  3. Felt so good to read about this.
    People don’t realise that it’s not a zero sum game, more investment in women doesn’t mean lesser investment in men; there are dividends of those investments as well. Fair distribution of freedom and authority also means fair distribution of responsibilities- which is great for a good society.
    Personally I’d like to see more men in India as homemakers and active participants in raising kids. I hope to become one in future 🙂


    • //Personally I’d like to see more men in India as homemakers and active participants in raising kids. I hope to become one in future //

      I really hope that it happens and indian women are more matured enough to accept their husbands at home while they are earning the bread.

      The kind of patriarchy prevails in india, it takes centuries more for indian women to accept their spouses as complete house husbands.

      Even generations for the in laws of men to accept their son in law as house husband while their daughter earns outside


      • I have often wondered why there are no stay at home dads in India, when there are so many women working and earning, than ever before.

        @Sunil, I asked my MIL, and as a conservative Indian woman, she thinks that the reason why is because of the male ego, not because of the immaturity of women. Clearly, many Indian women who juggle everything – work, life, home, children – could use some help if somebody would only offer. More men need to take the initiative!

        And besides, whatever a couples’ arrangement is in terms of childrearing, who cares what others think?


        • It is to some extent male ego that is the reason for the scarcity of male homemakers in India and men do need to take initiatives. But the sense of entitlement to be provided for by a male which most females have is also a big reason. Bread-winning is usually presumed a male responsibility and seldom discussed. Even most legal systems, consider it a man’s responsibility to provide in a marital arrangement. With the evolution of society, this needs to change.


      • I agree, It’s not that men dont want to take care of kids, some do, but the rest think it’s beneth them. yes they can grow a thick skin, but really I’d rather the idiots change their mindset.
        My husband always took my boys to the beach, just beacuse he enjoyed their play and if they needed help he could swim,me not so much.
        There was once an uncle who told him, ‘ areey beta if you had married my niece , you could have relaxed at home not do so much work in the evening na ‘ — !!!! seriously, playing with your flesh and blood for a few hrs daily is work? on the beach? hmm would you rather be rotting in front of TV ? doing what?? and moreover why would you want to sell your niece into life long free servitude ?
        my husband told him he liked to play with the boys and walked away , and then when i met him next time at the temple with my sons and he strolled to chat i told him exactly what i thought of his comments 🙂 within earshot of my boys, oh i was very respectful. He never spoke to me for a long time . he chats sometimes with us and our boys and is encouraging his granddaughter to find her partner… he turned very cool 🙂


      • I’m Norwegian.

        I think sometimes, a little “help” from the law is needed to make changes in society. One of the reasons why so many men here spend time at home taking care of their children is because the law is set up like that.

        When you get a child, you get 56 weeks of fully paid parental-leave. This period is split in 14 weeks that are reserved for the mother, 14 weeks that are reserved for the father, and the remaining 28 weeks the couple can share in the manner they themselves decide.

        Quite many men take only the 14 weeks that are reserved for them, and let the woman take 14+28 = 42 weeks off.


    • @ Malyaj, I liked your comment the best. It captures the essence of the article – that women’s empowerment can be empowering to the whole society, that it doesn’t come at a cost to men. I see this fear sometimes – when I talk to some Indian men, ordinary guys, not bad people, even capable of kindness, decency, and humor but still products of patriarchy. They get uncomfortable at the thought of independent women. But as in this example of Scandinavian society, gender equality can be a blessing for everyone, not just women. Not to mention some lovely side effects such as a more educated, capable workforce, better utilization of resources, and higher productivity and innovation.


  4. Does it really matter whether we follow Iceland or the Yemen? The moral police in both Iceland and Yemen ban pornography and strip clubs! One does it in the name of promoting the Islamic way of life. The other does it in the name of promoting equality of genders.

    It is sad and funny how fanatics on the two opposite sides came to the exact same conclusion!


    • Coming to the same conclusion doesn’t exactly mean that the reasoning behind said conclusion is the same. And the reasoning behind the conclusion is what is important. You can say that 6+4=10, and 7+3=10. They both have the same answer, but the way they arrive at them is different. The important thing is the prevailing attitude behind the conclusion.

      Also, in spite of porn and strip clubs being signs of a liberated culture, it doesn’t negate the fact that both those industries exploit women, which is inherently patriarchal as well. Porn and strip clubs continue to exist solely for the male gaze. There is often no validation involved in those industries, and the women who participate in them are often not the owners of their own sexuality. Obviously, this is not the case for all women, everywhere. But that is the truth. Yemen bans strip clubs out of the belief that women are temptation and that they must shut themselves away for the sake of protecting men. One reason serves to dismantle patriarchy. The other enforces it. And therein lies the difference.


      • There is a huge difference between the prohibition of prostitution in the Islamic Yemen and in Scandinavia. In Yemen the prostitutes get punished. In Scandinavia the customers get punished, NOT the prostitutes. Reason: the Scandinavic law regards prostitution as a violation of human rights, i.e. as exploitation. One of the nice side effects of their law: people profiting from human trafficking now regard Scandinavia as unattractive, which is leading to a huge decrease of sex slavery in these countries. Whereas the Yemen… well…


        • It doesn’t quite work that way. The illegalisation of sex trade drives it underground, just like in the US and India, leading to further avenues of exploitation. It is legalizing prostitution and regularising it under the ambit of the rule of law, that makes it less exploitative. You should read Kathy Laster’s arguments on the topic (Law as Culture, Kathy Laster, 2nd). She also cites a lot of references and peer reviewed studies to back up her point.
          Prostitution per se is not a violation of human rights (a point that can be argued, in a more neutral environment). It is not exploitative unless human trafficking is involved (which is more prevalent in societies where prostitution is illegal). Ilegalisation makes accessibility of a product or service harder, which drives up the price and makes trading that product or service more profitable.
          In both Sweden and Yemen, prostitution is banned as a form of social control. When sex is easily available, it is very difficult to make men a slave to their drives. By banning prostitution, the price of sex is kept high so that men are still willing to walk the tightrope of a woman’s whims and fancies, just to stay in her good books in the hope that the pipeline doesn’t dry out.
          In a funny way, Sweden has become a very socially and culturally hostile to the legitimate rights, aspirations and interests of middle class Swedish men – while catering to the exaggerated ‘needs’ of Swedish women and the select group of men who hold the reins of power. This is why most of my Swede friends have made their way to other countries. I don’t think once the worker drones start to leave, unwilling to support the ‘big government welfare state’ that works against them, Sweden would remain that high in the food chain anymore.


        • @akhimlyngdoh,

          “the price of sex is kept high so that men are still willing to walk the tightrope of a woman’s whims and fancies”

          That sounded a bit like ‘man gets sex, woman gives sex’.. which is a patriarchal fallacy.

          1) Sweden is a country where dating, one-night-stands, consensual (unpaid) sex is absolutely normal. Women have free support with birth control or abortions and are not socially pressured to remain virgins. How then are men not getting access to sex? Men and women both have to find a willing partner.

          2) I would imagine a ban on prostitution prevents male prostitution.. so it affects women wanting to pay for sex too. How is it a conspiracy only against men? Women don’t want sex, is it?

          I also work with many Swedes and have never heard of men leaving the country because the womenz are making it too hard. In fact many will say that the progress even in Sweden has been slower in the home, where patriarchal norms take longer to budge. Beyond the ban on porn/ prostitution, which applies to both men and women, what special women’s rights are driving men out? Equality, by definition, is not something ‘extra’ for women.. that’s just what male privilege makes it sound like.

          I am not supporting a ban on prostitution, it may well drive the business underground and be counter-productive. I just completely disagree that the ban is about depriving men of sex rather than stopping human trafficking or something more worthwhile.


      • @akhimlyngdoh,

        … Ilegalisation makes accessibility of a product or service harder, which drives up the price and makes trading that product or service more profitable.

        Really? yet to hear about a millionaire female prostitute, madam, yes, johns yes, pimps yes but a prostitute who sells her body many times a night. Child prostitutes definitely yes according to this proclamation.
        Can’t there be a society where there are avenues for expressing healthy sexuality? Where no means no and yes means yes.


    • Gender equality is fanaticism? How can ‘equality’ be an extremist idea? This is what being born in privilege does. When the non-dominant group get the same rights (i.e. equality) as you, it can feel like they are getting ‘more’ at your expense. Not so.

      Scandinavian countries are doing better than most places in terms of many measurable effects of sexism, such as the gender wage gap. No one is saying they are perfect, but they have clearly got more right than the rest of the world. What’s the point of picking holes rather than seeing what the others could learn?

      The reasoning for banning or not banning anything are completely relevant and secular non-scripture based resigning is more likely to go through an evolution and change with the world. If I can get equal wages for equal work and my husband can take equal paid leave as me to care for our child, I can live with other evolving bits to do with porn etc.


    • In Yemen, if you’re unmarried and choose to have sex with a man, you’re executed for pre-marital sex. This happens even if you’re not a prostitute and had sex of your own free will and not for money.

      In Scandinavia, if you’re unmarried and choose to have sex with a man, nothing happens because that’s entirely normal and legal, you’ll also not be considered less attractive as a wife in the future except by a very tiny minority of conservative religious men.

      In Scandinavia, if you are a prostitute, and choose to sell sex to a man, still nothing happens to you, because what you’re doing is not illegal.

      The man can however be fined for purchasing sex from you, because that is seen as a form of abuse: he’s taking advantage of your weak financial position and his own money to make you enter a sexual relationship that you’d otherwise not want.

      I think it’s clear that the difference is pretty huge.


      • But then why only ban prostitution or strip club? Why not ban maids, coal miners , labourers sweepers etc. Don’t we take advantage of sweepers poor financial position when we ask them to clean bathroom or sewers?Lets ban all jobs which are considered dirty and dangerous which nobody wants to do apart from poor people.

        If illegal human trafficking is responsible for prostitution then have a crackdown on illegal mafia not on the job because there may be people which are willing to do them .In India mafia bring girls from poor villages and force them to become maids , so lets ban maids in India too

        Sorry to say the logic above is equal to that we can’t provide security to women at night so ban them work after 8pm. Bans are never solution


        • Because in Norway, it is felt that buying sex is more degrading to the person providing the service than it is to pay someone to vacuum your floors.

          You need not agree with this assessment, but that is the reason, we’re a democratic country, we had democratically elected politicians vote about it, and this is the result

          There’s laws against trafficking too, so yes, someone who where forcing poor people into poorly paid jobs or something like that would also be in violation of law.

          I personally do not agree with the ban on prostitution.

          I’m just pointing out that to claim that the situation is comparable to that in Yemen, merely because both states disapprove of prostitution, is disingenious. There’s a rather LARGE difference between executing any woman who has sex outside marriage (Yemen) on one hand, and fining men who purchase sex on the other hand (Norway)

          If you honestly see no difference between these two things, I don’t feel we’ve got a lot more to talk about.


  5. The Scandinavian countries aren’t without their own problems, but they are way ahead than the rest of the world when it comes to equality (among themselves, they’re not too immigrant friendly).

    We covered Swedish policies towards child rearing in my Psych of Women and Gender class and that country is light years ahead of the rest of the world. I think the US is the absolute worst when compared to other developed, Western countries.


    • I think Sg would fare worse among developed countries. And so would China. Japan has been considered developed but is so very patriarchal. China may not be a democracy or considered a developed country, but in the present status it cannot be classified as a developing country either. They have lots of money in reserves, their infrastructure is top notch too.


      • I don’t see China as a developed country.

        While I do agree that Japanese culture is patriarchal, the social benefits and security net that Japan offers its citizens is way better than the US. I have no clue what life in SG is like, but I do believe that healthcare isn’t as awful as the US?


        • People do not see China as a developed country. The definition of these terms needs to change, but maybe we should remove these terms, my feeling. China has money. Their infrastructure is very good.Maybe the society/culture didn’t develop so fast but we cannot lump China with other developing countries.

          Sg follows US in its economic model but adds in Asian values when it suits their arguments (something like us putting in “this is my culture” to suit our patriarchal practices” and not be criticized). They run like a company and a company that wants its profit at that. Old retired people working cleaning toilets? Well, they are lazy and did not work enough. It is their family problem because their children do not take care of them (Asian values).


    • “We covered Swedish policies towards child rearing in my Psych of Women and Gender class and that country is light years ahead of the rest of the world. I think the US is the absolute worst when compared to other developed, Western countries”

      Sweden, Finland, Norway, France have absolutely wonderful clinical and social studies regarding child care & development , elder care, care for the disabled, care for the dying, poverty, crime victim support, mental health, substance abuse, etc. with the emphasis on various interventions designed to prevent, remedy or alleviate social problems.
      This research was the basis for much of our studies in the University of California.
      (The US doesn’t do much funding on research of this type – it doesn’t make money.)
      Anyhow all this great research information & the results thereof are FREE!!!!
      I don’t understand why India can’t save itself a lot of time & money by utilizing this information for many of it’s problems.
      And with a bit of cultural modification YES I do think the research results from these studies in European countries can be quite useful in India.


    • The US is abysmal, agreed. What’s worse though, most Americans don’t seem to even be aware of it, thinking that most wealthy democracies are more-or-less similar, when that’s so very very far from the truth.

      I’m Norwegian, but in these things the Nordic countries are pretty similar, there’s no huge differences between Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland on equal rights.


  6. ” when u start believing in scandinavian women more , you loose what u were carved for ”

    first of all stop getting obsessed with the concept of woman hood.
    u don’t have to scream to make a point , right ?

    second, female archbishop !
    we really have a different model mam !
    sorry for not being sarcastic there !

    if u start taking pride in such things , u will loosen your worth !
    thats because , from my point of view , a female is a leader too
    she cooks , she decides what kinda food will be served .. and billion more things
    hope u get my point in short !

    both man and woman are good !
    but its just that someone is better than other !
    and we need to love , respect , and make the best use of it !
    even we can feed kids , but a little bit of evolution is required there !
    remember darwin ?

    contraceptive pills ?
    so what ?
    oh how progressive ?
    wow !
    every country has different variables , all cant be compared on same lines

    my only point
    believe in urself
    don’t yearn for “please accept me”
    please this please that !
    u already have been blessed with much more things
    take pride in urself
    others will follow !


    • Everybody has the right to decide and to find out what they were ‘carved’ for; and then to refuse to buy slavery/abuse/brain washing/control/unhappiness in whichever fancy names it is being sold to them; and they can also change their minds if they find they were manipulated or unhappy. It’s their life and the only one they have.

      Nobody is born to fulfill or to prove other people’s theories or aspirations or ideas of what they were ‘carved for’ with or without questioning. Asking other people to fit into our ideas of what they were ‘carved’ for is manipulative.

      A society where those in power get to decide who the rest sleep with, marry, hate, love, live with, stop living with, when they have and raise children etc are unhappy societies where people need to be told repeatedly that they were ‘carved’ for fulfilling certain roles, and that wanting to live their lives – using their own judgment, even if that makes them happy was wrong. When people are happy they automatically don’t need to pay attention to manipulative talk about what they were ‘carved’ for. Only unhappy people whose questions need to be silenced are given this talk of what they were carved for.


    • “thats because , from my point of view , a female is a leader too
      she cooks , she decides what kinda food will be served .. and billion more things”

      Has anyone checked with women whether they’d even want to ‘exhibit leadership’ by deciding what to cook and what kind of food is to be served? Why are we even talking of ‘leadership’ when there doesn’t seem to be any openness towards the concept of freedom personal choice itself? This is a classic example of the kind of unfortunate mindset that plagues this country. The whole malaise stems out of such imbalanced, patriarchal stereotyping.


    • @samer – LOL WTF….is this serious?

      “a female is a leader too
      she cooks , she decides what kinda food will be served” —> funny how that’s the only examples offered.

      “even we can feed kids , but a little bit of evolution is required there !” —> bottle in mouth, spoon in mouth, how much evolution is required??? LOL!

      “every country has different variables , all cant be compared on same lines” –> We are praising and admiring Scandinavia, and why the hell not? Apparently better rights for citizens cannot be compared…?

      Praising another country does not make IHM any less of an Indian, you know.


    • “u don’t have to scream to make a point , right ?”

      Sometimes, when your voice is always being drowned out, deemed worthless, then yes, you do need to scream to make yourself heard. Screaming does not negate the truth. I can explain to you calmly and politely that your aunt’s name is Wilhemina, but that won’t deny the fact that my claim is false, no matter how nicely I tell you. I am still wrong, my message is still incorrect. Tone never negates the worth of a message. I don’t have to make myself sound nice to be correct when I know I am right, regardless.

      “second, female archbishop !
      we really have a different model mam !”

      So? Just because we have a different model, doesn’t mean that the model isn’t flawed or in need of improvement. I know plenty of women who are scholars in Sanskrit and the vedas. Not one of them ever become priests. They are equal to men in their knowledge, but denied the right simply because they are women. So tell me again how this model is “fair” and “just”, because it isn’t. If you’re going to deny an opportunity to someone because of what they are born as and not their abilities, then it is wrong, period.

      “she cooks , she decides what kinda food will be served .. and billion more things
      hope u get my point in short !”

      No, I really don’t. First of all, what if I don’t want to cook? Do I get to decide that? What if I want to race cars? Or build bridges? Or become an electrician? Are those venues open to me? What I don’t want to decide what other people eat, but I want to decide who I marry or who I choose to enter a relationship with? Do I get to make that decision?

      Forcing something upon women, then telling them that they do get decision making abilities for something they didn’t even decide for themselves that they wanted, is quite frankly, a ridiculous argument. So no, I didn’t get your point “in short”. I don’t think I’d get it “in long” either.

      “every country has different variables , all cant be compared on same lines”

      The one common variable every country MUST have is if their citizens, men and women, have basic human rights. Every country can, and must, be compared on this same, basic line. So yes, I will compare India to any other country. Especially if I am denied basic human rights such as the right to live, to go wherever I please, and to make the decisions that I want to make.

      “u already have been blessed with much more things”

      Again, asking for basic human rights is not asking for too much. It is a fundamental staple to living your life. I’m not going to sit around and say, “Well, I’m not treated like a human being with the ability to form conscious thought…but hey! At least I get to decide what everybody eats for dinner!” No. That’s not how it works. Basic human rights are inalienable. I’m not going to bargain and barter and compromise for that. Sorry.


    • @Samer, Aloha dude !
      What you have suggested is one of the ways in which a person may choose to lead her life and it’s a great choice. But the point is it must be ‘her’ choice, not anyone else’s.
      Peace out !


    • “but its just that someone is better than other !”

      Ah, and the better one happens to be you? Indeed equality will not give you what you ‘carved’ for, since you actually want unearned dominance.

      “she cooks , she decides what kinda food will be served”

      Were you not born with two hands and a brain? If yes then I would like to inform you that you can cook too! Congratulations! You don’t need a vagina to cook, stocking as it may be.

      The world is changing and you will be left behind, like it or not.


      • Maybe i want to pay high taxes for allt he facilities and benefits 🙂 just for the equality i could move i guess,
        But you are correct if i’m a successful individual and do very well and have plenty of money I want to live in a place with less taxes and i dont really care about benefits/pensions/medical help etc.,
        but if i’m not doing so well maybe i want to pay more taxes and avail myself of the govt’s help.
        either way that’s totally different, I’d move in a heartbeat just for women equality.


      • No they’re not. Taxes are high for the wealthy, but low or nonexistant for the poor. Furthermore, before you compare taxes, you also must consider what is included in the tax-bill.

        My wife and I earn about 12 million rupees a year. On this, we pay 29% in taxes. That may seem like a lot – but consider that we get all of the following included in our tax-bill (no extra charge):

        * Complete healthcare for our entire family
        * Retirement-benefits from age 60
        * Sponsored high-quality childcare available to everyone with a child over 1 year
        * Free education (all levels, including university)
        * Unemployment-insurance
        * 56 weeks of fully-paid parental leave when we have a child
        * Disability-insurance

        (and many more things)

        I actually think, when you consider all the things we get for this money, it is a really good deal !

        Sure taxes are lower in many other countries, but there you often need to purchase things like healthcare-insurance and education for your kids at additional cost, and when you consider this, then I don’t think 29% is a lot.

        Also consider that a million rupees a month is quite a decent salary, if we where poorer, we would pay a lower tax-percentage.


        • Perhaps, I know friends of mine in Australia don’t like Indians behaving auspiciously about meat and alcohol. It may be a similar thing there in the Scandinavian countries.

          It’s funny how we treat meat eating as a vice. Some of the most staunch Indian non-vegetarian friends that I have refrain from eating meat on one day. We are such a confused culture 😛


        • Well it’s OK to have one’s beliefs. What is not OK is trying to make a show of it and trying to prove others as wrong. Also one must be open to new ideas and revision of one’s belief if the need be.
          If a person migrates to another country it is good to learn about the people, language and culture and not just go and join a ghetto.


  7. I think the article is poorly written or maybe I say that because I have read more in depth analysis of these topics along and this article does not teach me anything new.

    I am not surprised. At the end of the day, I believe it is about the values of the people and the government. Many developed Asian countries lag behind they believe in this aspect because they believe family should care for itself, not the government. You don’t have money, you are lazy (even for old people)


  8. Oh no! Posts like this are a real threat to our glorious Indian culture! Just one question – are women worshipped there? If no, then how can it be a better place for them ! For all there equality shequality, we have our Manu smriti!! 😉
    (ok! All this came from a jealous Indian woman!)


  9. Amazing!!! Having a proper maternity leave & paternity leave has so many benefits on society and the family. I think it’s an excellent idea that dads can share the parental leave, not to mention crucial. In Canada we also have maternity leave which can be shared with the dads. And we also get $170 a month from the government for each child until they turn 6, which helps with diapers etc.

    I don’t know why all of my Indian relatives have this idea that moving to the U.S. is the most glamorous place to be, when so many people do not get maternity leave, one of my blog readers had to pay $21,000 out of her pocket to have her baby (total rip off!), and many people live paycheck to paycheck, if they can even get a job that covers their bills or debts. But the only place they want to live abroad is the U.S and nobody can convince them otherwise!!
    Clearly, Scandinavia is the place to be! Would love to visit there.

    Great post, IHM!


  10. Meh. I know it’s a great country with a comfy social democracy but I definitely wouldn’t want to move there:houses too small, winters too cold, taxes too high. Then again that wasn’t the point of the article, the point of the article was that women are treated well there, and with that I agree.


  11. I am not too sure about the gender equality aspect but Iceland has best safety record, I learnt from a colleague who visited Iceland that the country has no locks!! If people have no malaise in heart they are bound to respect women


  12. Yep, parental leave is pretty great. The UK offers a year’s maternal leave. This is great, but the paternal leave is only two weeks. This means that the state is legislating ME to be the primary carer and legislating my career as the less important one. This should be a personal choice for every couple to make, not an institutionalised norm. So even with a generous maternal leave, women or moms will find themselves at a disadvantage in the office.

    Compare this to the scandinavian system where parents are given a year and half to share as they like (or not, but I think there’s a bonus to share it).. and you see that dads have much more of an opportunity to share baby-work here.. and employers have less of an opportunity to discriminate against women because ‘they’ll have babies and go off for a year’. Ergo, parental leave for the win!


  13. Yes, Iceland has an alcohol problem, but unlike in India those addicted aren’t shunned, left to fend for themselves or ‘protected’ by turning a blind eye to. Rehab centres are common and being an addict doesn’t spell the end of your life.
    Yes, prostitution is illegal. But its paying for the service that’s an offence. Everyone’s sexuality and whatever that constitutes is their private matter and it doesn’t say anything about Iceland’s sexual revolution.
    Yes, they have children out of wedlock (we did too 😀 ) But family is a strong institution and doesn’t consist of the toxicity that goes around back home in the name of love, honour, culture or whatever else that constitutes the great Indian culture.
    Yes, we pay high taxes. But it goes into the free compulsory education for 6-15 year olds, it goes into the old age and community centres for those over 65, it goes into the infrastructure, it goes towards our parental leave.
    Yes we have almost equal maternal and paternal leave which is being revised for 2014 to provide for a more comprehensive support system (12-15 months paid leave). We have happy pram-pushing dad’s to single parent homes that always put the child’s need first.
    Iceland and other Scandinavian countries might seem unfriendly to immigrants especially Asians, but it is mostly the way we treat our women back home that rings alarm bells for the heavily gender neutral society.
    PS – Married to a Scandinavian, living in Scandinavia as a mother, self-employed immigrant.
    The article itself is flimsy, but Scandinavian countries consistently rank in the top rung when it comes to Gender equality, Human rights and quality of life.
    People in the government are people like us, so if their government is taking strong strides towards a gender neutral society doesn’t it speak volumes about their mindset? Compare that to the headlines our netas and god men regularly make, shudder!


  14. How would Scandinavian women be any different from ie. Canadian women? Honest we do have specific rights…. Ok, maybe our daycare system is not great.

    In Canada, by law, you can take maternity leave for several months and be guaranteed of your job. This is one of many things. Sure there is still small number of senior women in corporate executive positions, etc. I’m a bit puzzled by all this: is everyone in India seeing Canada as some place less desirable than Scandinavian countries?

    Honest, for South Asians immigrating elsewhere, you stand a better chance to advance in the corporate world in Canada vs. deeply entrenched attitudes about “original” ancestry in Europe.


    • “I’m a bit puzzled by all this: is everyone in India seeing Canada as some place less desirable than Scandinavian countries?”

      Er, no? That wasn’t the purpose of the article at all? There was no comparison of Canada and Scandinavian countries here, just a look at Scandinavian countries. Why bring Canada into this at all? I ask this as a Canadian by the way. We’re great in a lot of ways, but that wasn’t the purpose of the blog post.


      • You’re right about the article focus.

        But hey, I still wouldn’t put Scandinavian women any better than North America it terms of rights and opportunities in self-development, quality of living, etc.


    • Compared to India, equality is pretty good in Canada too. It doesn’t -quite- measure up to the Scandinavian countries on these rankings, but it gets very close, and there’s no doubt that Canada is also a good country for people who care about equal rights.

      The main areas where Canada score a bit lower than Scandinavia is that women in Canada are a little bit less likely to work, and on the average earn a little bit less money (compared to the men), and also that there’s a bit less women representatives in positions of power.

      Nobody said Canada is bad, though. Canada is pretty awesome, I love Canada ! I should visit Canada again soon !


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