Umeå will be the municipality in Sweden working most to be equal. A municipality in which women and men have the power to shape their own lives and society on equal terms, with as much influence, with an equal opportunity to live a financially independent life.
If you're wondering why I write so often on Sweden, it's because they express liberal principles so clearly and openly.
A general aim of liberalism is individual autonomy. By autonomy is meant being able to self-determine one's own life and being independent. Equality means that individuals have the same level of autonomy: the same "power to shape their own lives" and "an equal opportunity to live a financially independent life".
The Swedes are convinced that you get autonomy and independence via careers and money. Therefore, equality for women means that women should be equally committed to careers as men and should receive at least as much money as men do.
And so the Umeå equality committee is absolutely convinced that it is a gross injustice if women spend any more time with their babies than men do. Men must take an equal share of parental leave if equality is to exist.
Similarly the Umeå equality committee believes that justice requires that women be made perfectly financially independent of men through a guarantee of equal earnings, even if this means taxing men extra to reduce male take home pay.
And so you get ideas like this:
Umeå municipality's overall gender equality objectives are: To create opportunities for women and men have the power to shape society and their own lives.
An important factor is economic equality and economic independence. Therefore, we might begin to investigate the introduction of a gender tax?
Would a gender tax designed so it would be about men paying higher taxes because there is still an unexplained pay gap of around seven per cent in favor of men.
But there are more reasons that makes an average of 4,500 kronor per month, the difference in income between men and women. It's about the choices we have to do and how these choices are valued. Women still take the majority of parental leave and work part-time to a greater extent and more unpaid work at home. Women lost in their wallets for life.
The injustice of it is necessary to talk about and take responsibility for.
Should we be economically equal and financially independent? How will we get there? Is an equality tax the only option? Or are there other ways?
Closing the pay gap, to challenge the structures and actively work for an equal distribution of unpaid housework, breaking the gender segregated labor market, to ensure that fathers are taking a larger share of parental leave, to challenge our own beliefs and dare to see things for how they actually looks and not how we think it looks.
...A municipality in which all women and men have the power to shape their own lives and society on equal terms, with as much power and with equally loud voice so that both women and men are able to live a financially independent life, whole life.
Most Western countries are following the same ideas, even if they are less upfront in spelling them out.
I find it a particularly sterile vision of society, one in which it is assumed that women lose out when men commit themselves to a provider role and in which the aim is not a closer, complementary union between men and women but maximum independence.
It is a vision, too, which assumes that motherhood is a negative factor in a woman's life, a potential impediment to acquiring money and independence, that must therefore be delegated equally to men.
This kind of liberalism, when boiled down to its essential aims, is really about career and money. It doesn't rise to anything more than this. It is a low and dispirited expression of Western culture.