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PoliticsI'm Leif Pagrotsky, Consul General of Sweden in New York - AMA about Sweden's work with gender equality!

Mar 23rd 2018 by LeifPagrotsky_ • 10 Questions • 177 Points

My name is Leif Pagrotsky and I am the Consul General of Sweden in New York. On the occasion of the United Nations’ annual gender equality meeting Commission on the Status of Women CSW62 in New York, I am here to answer questions about what Sweden, one of the world’s most gender-equal countries, is doing to ensure equal rights for girls and women in Sweden and worldwide. You can start posting your questions right now! Starting at 10 am EST, I’ll answer them!

Proof: https://twitter.com/leifpagrotsky/status/976507031006928897

https://www.facebook.com/swedennewyork/posts/10156325296237148

https://www.instagram.com/p/BgmAxQGn-SC/?taken-by=swedennewyork

Thanks so much for your questions! Sweden’s commitment to gender equality stands firm and the work is not done until girls’ and women’s rights are equal to those of boys and men. While there’s been a lot of progress, there are still many forms of discrimination of women and girls so it’s important to keep the work going. We hope you will join us and take a feminist stand too in your everyday life!

Don’t forget to follow the Consulate on social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/swedennewyork/ Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/swedennewyork and https://www.twitter.com/swedennybiz Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/swedennewyork

Q:

What was your biggest culture shock regarding gender related issues while living in New York?

A:

Coming from Sweden, where you see both men and women with their kids in public, it was striking to me that when you see kids in New York they are almost exclusively in the company of women.


Q:

What are your thoughts on the gender wage gap, and what do you think of the studies that have refuted it when controlling for fields?

Second question, do you believe in “affirmative action” to hire women/men based on filling a certain gender quota, and do you think this is sexist and discriminating?

A:

Economic equality is key to gender equality at large. Therefore, the persisting, and even globally widening, gender wage gap is an issue we still need to work on. Besides direct wage discrimination, it is largely caused by women more often working part-time and in non-permanent contracts. These work patterns could be counterfeited if men and women would share the unpaid house and care work equally. Women and men overall work in different sectors that are valued unequally, and do not have the same career possibilities even within their sector. This is something that needs to be addressed already in early ages in education, where boys and girls should be treated in a non-stereotypical way and encouraged to make career and educational choices free from gender bias.


Q:

What is your opinion on parental leave in sweden? Should the parents have an equal amount of weeks away from work in order to make it as fair as possible or should the parents be able to decide themselves who stays home and cares for the family to best suit their situation?

A:

Parents in Sweden are allowed to up to 480 days of parental leave, 90 of which are non-transferrable. This means that they can split them evenly between them, should they wish to do so. Usually, women use most of the days, with men taking around one-fourth of the parental leave on average. I wish that fathers would take more parental leave, but I think the government should increase incentives gradually for fathers to stay home with their children.


Q:

Recently a a man was acquitted by the Swedish court for assaulting his wife because the (muslim) lay judges argued since both victim and perpetrator was muslim, the violence should not be handled by the court but by the family, and that the man came from a better family than the woman. The woman was deemed "not trustworthy" because she went to the police rather than to the family. Do you feel that the increasing prevalence of muslim values in Swedish society is a threat the the safety and civil rights of women?

A:

This case was immediately brought to the attention of the media, public, and legal system, as well as the Center Party, which the members of the court represented. The two lay judges were instantly fired from their assignment in the court as well as from their party. The end result proves that this way of arguing is unlawful.


Q:

How prevalent are viewpoints such as those of the lay judges in this case?

A:

This was the first and only one, and I'm convinced it will never be repeated.


Q:

As a seasoned diplomat, what do you think our generation can do differently to previous ones to help promote equality today?

A:

Women are more self-confident today, they can speak up and protest instead of accepting old-fashioned rules and habits, in private as well as in professional and political spheres.


Q:

How big is the gender gap in higher education in Sweden, and what policies are you implementing to help close the gap?

A:

Actually, women are in many cases overrepresented in higher education. However, women’s representation in higher education decreases the higher the degree: women are overrepresented in bachelors studies but underrepresented at doctorate’s level.


Q:

Do you miss Anna Lind?

A:

Yes.


Q:

What would be incentive enough for you to carry around a bowling ball for one year?

A:

World peace and eradication of poverty and cancer. Plus Sweden winning the World Cup in soccer.


Q:

[deleted]

A:

That is another example of fake news, there is no such law. It is increasingly common among ministers to use gender-neutral words like "God" instead of gendered words like "He," but it has nothing to do with laws.