The Gender Gap: Moms Not Wanted; Sweden Bends over Backward to Help Women Work, but in Ways That Often Keep Them out of the Best Jobs

By Foroohar, Rana | Newsweek International, January 9, 2006 | Go to article overview

The Gender Gap: Moms Not Wanted; Sweden Bends over Backward to Help Women Work, but in Ways That Often Keep Them out of the Best Jobs


Foroohar, Rana, Newsweek International


Byline: Rana Foroohar

Europeans and Americans alike have certain romantic notions about Sweden. We imagine it as a land of liberal-minded people living in a bastion of equality--which, in many ways, it is. Sweden has the second highest number of female parliamentarians in the world. Half its government ministers are women. Its wage gap is narrow, and females are well represented in the labor force. Both the United Nations and the World Economic Forum have rated it tops in the world for equality.

But no paradise is without its paradoxes. In Sweden, the biggest one is this: while the government has done much to improve the lives of women, it has also created a glass ceiling for them that is thicker than that in many other European countries, as well as in the United States. While state-funded child care and extremely long and cushy maternity benefits (480 days with up to 80 percent of pay) make it easy to be a working mother in Sweden, such benefits also have the effect of dampening female employment in the most lucrative and powerful jobs. In Sweden, more than 50 percent of women who work do so in the public sector--most as teachers, nurses, civil servants, home health aides or child minders, according to the OECD. Compare this to about 30 percent in the U.K. and 19.5 percent in America. "Private-sector employers are less willing to deal with the disruption caused by very long maternity leaves," says Manuela Tomei, a labor sociologist with the International Labor Organization in Geneva. "Gender discrimination in Sweden may be more subtle, but it is very much there."

The link between family-friendly policies and female employment are a hot topic all over the developed world, as birthrates fall and a shortage of skilled labor looms. Europeans have looked to the Nordic countries as a model--longer maternity leaves and state-funded child care must make it easier for women to have careers, or so the conventional wisdom goes. And indeed the system does make it easier for women to hold lower- to midlevel jobs and have children (Sweden has managed to keep its birthrate relatively high). But as London School of Economics fellow Catherine Hakim notes, policies that raise the birthrate "don't necessarily translate into complete gender equality, particularly in the private sector.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Gender Gap: Moms Not Wanted; Sweden Bends over Backward to Help Women Work, but in Ways That Often Keep Them out of the Best Jobs
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.