Nordic Gender Inequality

I am Swedish, and when I say I’m Swedish, eyes and faces lit up – Ah, the Homeland of The Equals. Where fathers stay at home with their children for months and no one thinks twice about it. Where instead of he or she, a gender neutral word has been introduced in the language. Where women detectives roam the streets (a step up from the polar bears), and where we all live in perfect homes furnished by Scandinavian designers.

Ah, the wonders of the country that takes over the world one four letter acronym at a time…

But then there is the truth. And the truth is seldom beautiful. The truth is that when it comes to gender equality in the workplace Sweden is a failed state. And there are numbers to prove it. In his excellent book ”The Nordic Gender Equality Paradox”  Dr. Nima Sanandaji clearly shows how the Nordic well fare states hold women back, rather than the opposite. Proportionally, Nordic countries tops only Cyprus when it comes to women amongst directors and chief executives. And they fall well behind more conservative neighbours like the Baltic. In fact in EU27 best in class in Bulgaria with almost 48%.

So what would any well-meaning government do to change this? Introduce new legislation. What else? But it is a legislation that a minority supports and I have yet to meet one woman that supports positive discrimination against us. Why should we support measures that promotes inequality and makes no difference when it comes to our accomplishments? No one seems to be able to answer these questions, because seemingly no one seems to ask it.  Besides no one has shown me WHY it is of importance to achieve this gender balance. It can be said that business have developed rather splendid these past 200 years without women on board, so why change a winning formula? Yes, I am convinced that balanced compositions are better and more effective than unbalanced. And I think it’s bad for branding when I see boards 100% male. But nowhere have I found support for my belief that balanced is better than not. And before we start setting unwanted legislation in place, how about some evidence?

Make no mistake, I’d love to sit on a board. But I want to be on that board because I bring valuable expertise to it. Not because of my combination of XY chromosomes. If that is the only reason it is degrading, unequal and arrogant.

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