Sweden has been ranked world’s 4th on gender equality! Surprising, right? In a country whose birth rates were amongst the worse in Europe only four decades ago… And today is one of the leaders, whereas Portugal has the worst birth rate of Europe! Shocking but not surprising – just today I found out that a male nurse was fired from his job in Portugal, just because he decided to take his paternity leave! And then, when he complained about the situation, he was threatned! Where have I heard a similar story before?
Funny, here in Sweden it really works a bit the opposite. Both parents are entitled to 16 months of parental leave, and they can decide how to split it between each other. Companies encourage this measure by employing workers during this period, to ensure the work is done. They even allow parents to work on a part-time basis, no questions asked! Parental leave is paid not by the employer but by Försäkringskassan.
Sweden has the highest female employment rate in EU and the largest amount of women taking part in politics. However, Swedes still want more equality!
What’s more surprising is the fact that this all starts early – at the daycare stage! Sweden is so modern that they have introduced a new gender-neutral pronoun, so that the children can understand they are equal since an early age! Toilets are unisex in Sweden, most of the time. And I was amazed how many men I have been finding pushing baby strollers… I am “so Southern European” that I am not used to this, but I love it! (Naturally, they won’t hold the door for us…).
It’s the same with same-sex families. According to the law, both same-sex parents have the same rights and duties towards children. Wow! They really are a step ahead… Don’t think Portugal can ever reach this, at least not in this century! Life has even gotten worse with the economical crisis…