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?
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