So Sweden very clearly has a state ideology. There is no pretence that the liberal state in Sweden is neutral.
What is it like to be subject to gender mainstreaming? In 2009, Tiina Rosenberg was appointed as a "gender coach" to thirty leading academics at Lund University. Her opening remarks at a seminar confused some of the attendees; a man from the Faculty of Engineering raised his hand to ask a question and Rosenberg stopped and turned toward him. He took this to mean that she wanted to hear the question - a big mistake it turns out.
Sindra Årsköld, an associate professor of biochemistry and a feminist herself, reports on what happened:
With flashing eyes she [Rosenberg] shouted: You are a man, I'm a woman, and therefore shut up! She then continued to alternatively scold and then insult the entire group, unprovoked and incoherently, for the entire 45 minutes. It was terribly uncomfortable. I have never seen such hatred.
To her credit Professor Årsköld questions the relevance of gender mainstreaming to the physical sciences:
The episode was a wake-up call for me ... What does a gender science look like? [You hear the] gender mantra "sex is a social construct". You also come across the ideas that "everyone is really bisexual, but are socialised into a polarised sexuality" and "heterosexuality is a manifestation of the patriarchal power structure". Hmm, interesting hypotheses. I immediately think that they are easily testable by studying groups with nearly the same biology that we have ... Namely the other mammals.
Interesting. Swedes are being taught not only that sex (meaning here masculine and feminine behaviour) is a social construct but that everyone is bisexual, or would be if it were not for socialisation. The professor of biology is sceptical, believing that sex distinctions and heterosexuality can be observed to be natural amongst the mammals.
Professor Årsköld is also critical of other attempts to gender mainstream the physical sciences in Sweden:
There lurk far more dangerous beasts in the gender jungle than an angry aunt and some counter-intuitive hypotheses. Moira von Wright, professor of education and president of Södertörn University College, has criticised the elementary and secondary school physics books because they emphasise the physics of objective knowledge rather than man's relationship to nature as a social process...
One example she highlights is the rainbow, whose physical explanation completely ignores the "social, cultural, philosophical, aesthetic and religious dimensions of the rainbow." She proposes a cure for these deficiencies: "A gender sensitive physics requires a relational approach and a lot of the traditional scientific knowledge content of physics will be removed."
.. I am offended and outraged at these ideas. Why tackle the natural sciences, whose unchanging core is above gender and which are the key to the wealth that enables us all to sit here and speculate, fed and healthy?
Professor Årsköld finishes by stating her belief that these efforts at gender mainstreaming could cause a backlash against feminism and that women like herself do not need gender coaches.
The Lund University episode is not unique:
In November 2007, a seminar on gender equality was held at the Department of Earth Sciences in Uppsala.
People sat there who know the most about Earth's internal and external affairs and learned more about such things as the famous five forms of domination which, according to feminist Berit Ås, are used by men to suppress women.
One of the participants was apparently not as interested in the domination of the mountain bases and climate, as he leafed through some papers because of a deadline for a script. He shouldn't have. The lecturer was offended and immediately made a mental note of the man...
When the lecturer the day after heard gossip that the same man had discussed her outfit with a few colleagues afterwards the offence was compounded and she wrote to the university's legal department and explained that she was subjected to "abusive treatment because of sex".
The Legal Department and the president agreed that the matter required investigation. A few months later his sentence was declared: the higher academies' version of shame - official criticism of his behavior.
Not all Swedes are happy with the state of affairs in their country. I'm finding an increasing number of Swedish websites critical of state feminism. It's surely a movement with a potential to grow.