For example, women’s status and situation in the Nordic countries is radically different from what it is in the Baltic region. The Estonian article challenges our ideas about equal pay and equality in society. In Estonia, it is still seen as a matter of course that ”the man is the bread-winner of the family”, which is a paradox when a high percentage of families consist of a single mother and children. We know that the situation is different in the Nordic countries. We know that the proportion of women currently lies around 40% and that the Nordic region is a world leader when it comes to women’s position in top political posts. At the same time, we are reading that women only earn 83% of what men do in Sweden, that stronghold of equality. Moreover, there are still very few women executives in listed companies and in labour market organisations. Why is progress slower in business and industry than it is in politics? Some of these questions will be on the agenda at a conference organised by the Icelandic precidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in Novermber. Perhaps we will get some more answers there?
In spite of these differences, it is obvious that Nordic women have achieved much – and that their position is unique in many ways. When we read Sigrúns article about the struggle for gender equality in Iceland, we realise what kind of opportunities and rights the strong women of Iceland have gained through that struggle. The Norwegian article deals with the deeply-rooted idea that Nordic women can do pretty much anything if they want to!
However, as stated above, Nordic women still have stepsisters. They exist in the neighbouring countries, such as the Baltic countries, as well as inside the borders of the Nordic region. Many women from immigrant backgrounds no doubt feel isolated from the Nordic community of women. How does one learn what it is to be a Nordic woman? This question is taken up by the authors of the Norwegian and Danish articles. Here Nordic women have a duty to adopt and include their fellow women so that they no longer need to feel like stepsisters! The immigrant women’s peer support project (bydelsmødrene, or ”district mothers”) presented in Karen’s Danish article is a brilliant example.
I hope you will find inspiration and joy amid the autumn gloom through reading about women’s education in the Faroe Islands, women’s struggle for equality in Iceland, women’s wages in Estonia and Sweden, district mothers in Denmark, ”double motherhood” in Norway and the hard-working, strong woman who is NVL’s coordinator in Finland.
I wish all strong women – and everyone else – a very nice autumn!
Best wishes, Hilde