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Schyman, Gudrun

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Upsala Nya Tidning - Sweden | 17/10/2008

Gudrun Schyman on equal rights and poverty

World Food Day, celebrated every year on October 16, prompts Gudrun Schyman, leader of the Swedish women's party Feministisk Initiativ, to call in the Swedish daily Upsala Nya Tidning for more progress on equal rights for women. "Women define poverty differently to men. Men see poverty as a personal affront, as an insult to their ego. For women it's about not having food for their children - the 'we'. These different ways of defining oneself in terms of one's behaviour towards the environment and the situation make clear in a natural way what different roles men and women play in our societies. The global pattern shows that the main responsibility for children, the old and social contacts still lies with women. Because a lack of power and resources is the root cause of poverty we need to analyse the balance of power between men and women. ... We must also examine the consequences of male predominance in the EU, which make reforms of the social welfare state necessary. For instance, there is a lack of reforms that would enable both parents to pursue a career, with the result that more and more women are choosing not to have children and that ever fewer people will have to support a growing number of older people. This will lead to a crisis in the population structure and to economic stagnation."

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