Gender violence in the nordic countries
Why gender-based violence increases instead of decreases? What is happening with the European feminist? Why nordic countries have a different approach about equality?
We all know how delicate it is this social problem, the gender-based violence. Fifty years ago, nobody denounced, reported or informed against it, but it didn’t mean that it didn’t exist. Women were oppressed without the right to claim what belongs to them. Currently, women have empowered. Feminism is a fast-moving trend for gender equality. However, gender violence is a hard problem in whole world. There is not any country where you don’t find a sexist culture. Twenty-five million European women are gender violence victims. The European Human Rights Agenda says that the most punished countries are, paradoxically, the ones who invest more in equality gender educational programs. These are Denmark (52%), Finland (47%) and Sweden (46%). They have the highest rate of violence gender in Europe. But there is one more which is not on the list, we will analyze calmly later.
I want to focus this analyze in the Nordic countries, since I was living there for 5 months. I could realize how are the relationships between women and men. First, I would like to show what the experts think about the causes of the problem in these countries. Dr. Altamirano explains this difference between north-countries and south-countries as follows: There are more effective equality policies in the north of Europe. Women are prone to talk about violence gender situations when someone asks to them in an interview. Then, it doesn’t mean that there are more cases of gender violence in the north than in the south. The point is we can recognize easily in the Nordic ones, I mean, they are more visible. They are the countries where there is more equality between gender, the society is aware about this problem, so that, it is easier for women identify violence situations. Likewise, if women trust justice, they will report freely. That’s why in the questionnaires we get these results.
I realized how women are different. They are very free and independent than the rest of Europe. Also, they are very self-confident. Most of the time, women have the control of the situation when they are conquering men. It would produce a cultural shock between feminist patriarchy. Men still have the masculine role which they need to feel powerful to control women. But Nordic women are highly developed in gender, they don’t need any man who depends with. The feminist movements in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and above all, Iceland…, are very strong and powerful.
Notably, in 2010, fifty-thousand of Icelandic women and their supporters left their occupations and marched the main street in Reykjavik together. This walkout was called Women Strike Back, in vindication of male violence and the closing of the gender pay gap. Janet Elisa Johnson, teacher of political science and women studies at Brooklyn College, proclaims Iceland as the most feminist place in the world. Advances as criminalizes the purchase of sex but keeping protection for prostitutes, eliminating of lap dancing in strip clubs, increasing a 40% quota of women in the government, legalizing same sex marriage or government-provided parental to be shared by women and men which it helps to combine work of both parties.
Further, many informal initiatives have taken place such an activist sang songs in response to violence against women. As we can see Iceland women’s movement is one of the most active in the world through social measures. The organizer of the last walkout, Guðrún Jónsdóttir, said this is a power we will find the way to activate. I promise you. We have still a lot to do¨. The explanation about why Iceland, and the other Nordic countries, have this feminist force it is because they have created a support in society. The 2010 walkout pulled together more than twenty organizations of women. Besides, media was focused on the event, in addition to the radio which played women’s liberation music.
It is very shocked for society how these two rates seem opposite of each other: feminist movements and violence gender, but they go together. However, everything makes sense after analyzing the social, politic and cultural conditions in these countries. As we saw Iceland has a very strong feminist movement, and it doesn’t have a high violence gender rate. Maybe this is the right way to follow if we want to reach a real gender equality. Society must get the power. Society should move to get the social rights that correspond them. Only society can get what they deserve. Nobody else will fight for it.