Går danskerne ind for ligestilling? Ikke, hvis man skal tro debatterne om sports-bh’er og barsel

Danskerne går baglæns i ligestillingsdebatten – hvorfor går de ellers ind for, at kvinder skal pakkes ind, og er imod tvungen barsel til mændene?

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Do Danes support equality? Not if one is to believe the debates about sports bras and maternity

The Danes are moving backwards when it comes to the gender equality debate – why else would they they favor women being wrapped up as well as being against forced maternity leave for men?

Let’s start with the fitness center in Odense, which will ban women from training in sports bras. To me, two things are problematic in the gym’s argument for introducing their new rule.

Firstly, the argument for implementing the rule raises several red flags. The rule is introduced because of ‘respect for cultural differences’. We all know what that means. It means that a very specific group of young Muslim men have a problem with being in the immediate vicinity of free women who dress as they please. And no, I am not advocating for girls and women running around schools and workplaces in very short tops. But in a context where you are spending your free time in a place designed for the body to physically work, as is the case in a gym, and the focus is not on intellectual and professional performance, the situation is somewhat different.

If one gives in to the kind of misogyny that the injunction quite obsessively expresses, it opens the gate to an avalanche of restrictions that could be created aiming to make women take up less space in the public sphere.

Secondly, the fitness center operates under SDU (University of Southern Denmark), which only underscores my next and disturbing point. Of all, especially universities, should be aware of what signals they are sending and for what reasons. Maybe they are, but then they are definitely not aiming for a a gender equality mindset the Danes usually pride themselves of.

“But, wait!”, you might be thinking to yourself. Weren´t you the one who said we should not sing that Shu-bi-dua song? No, I have never said what one may and may not do. Contrary, I said that once people are in Denmark, you have to talk to each other in a civil and inclusive manner. That is the exact opposite to what is going on when one is intolerant and promotes inequality between the sexes.

The second debate, which is taking place in the Danish media this week, is about maternity leave. Many Danes are completely up in the red because new rules ensure that the father must take more maternity leave if the mother wants the right to receive maternity leave beyond a certain number of weeks.

There are many aspects at stake in the debate, including some that have to do with the EU. Rainbow families are almost completely left out of the debate as well. And before spoiled Danes, who do not even think of maternity leave as an incredible welfare benefit, start arguing, it should be said that people always have the right to do as they please – but that it then be without the state’s payment.

Seen from the outside, it seems to me quite unreasonable to complain about the generous welfare benefits that a long Danish maternity leave is.

I have countless girlfriends here in the US who, after a few weeks, have had to return to their workplace or have simply been forced to quit their jobs.

For my own part as an employee of the University of Washington, it was stated in my contract that I as an employee would be entitled to what is considered a good scheme here, namely 12 weeks maternity leave.

Neither a short maternity leave nor the choice of women to stay at home benefits family life or the equality of women. Why are the Danes fighting over a rule change that will create better conditions for the well-being of the family and for women’s equality?

In Denmark, it is not a question of depriving anyone of anything, but on the contrary of supporting women’s career opportunities, fathers’ attachment to their child and gender equality in general.

It has always been the case that if women wanted the same rights as men, we would have to twist their arms. Gender equality does not happen by itself, it must unfortunately be introduced by law. This has been the case with the right to vote, the right to abortion, etc., etc., and this is also the case if we are to have a family life where the mother and father in the child’s first months are equal in parental attachment.

Is Denmark really willing to move backwards in relation to women’s equality when it comes to bare belly skin and childbirth?

(partly Google Translate)

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