onsdag, september 22, 2004

Det stod i The Guardian!

När till och med The Guardian säger att den svenska socialdemokratiska politiken har havererat, så måste väl även den svenska vänstern begripa. Detta är ju ändå blaskan som, näst Le Monde, försvarar vänstervärderingarna skarpast i Europa.

The Guardians Joanna Moorhead skriver idag om hur hon genom att intervjua välkända brittiska sociologen Catherine Hakim upptäcker att hon har blivit lurad.

"For decades we've been told Sweden is a great place to be a working parent. But we've been duped"

Och det är bara rubriken.

Jovisst. Sverige var inte paradiset. Det visar sig att den tredje vägen ledde till att kvinnorna trycks nere. Guardian noterar att svensk föräldraförsäkring gör att kvinnorna halkar efter rejält på arbetsmarknaden. Och mer därtill.

What we all expect - but what is never actually said - about Sweden and countries such as Norway and Denmark is that because they have such a forward-thinking attitude to the needs of working parents, women have a much better deal, are able to work more effectively and to progress better. Wrong, wrong and wrong again, says Hakim. "Swedish women don't have it made - they still end up paying a price in terms of their career or employment. What you find, if you look closely at the figures, is that there is a pay threshold in Nordic countries below which are 80% of all women, and above which are 80% of all men.

"What is more, the glass ceiling problem is larger in family-friendly Sweden than it is in the hire-and-fire-at-will US, and it has also grown as family-friendly policies have expanded. In Sweden 1.5% of senior management are women, compared with 11% in the US."

And that's not all. Take another barometer of equality - the gap between men's and women's pay - and Sweden puts on another poor show. It is difficult, says Hakim, to get accurate figures, but she reckons that Swedish women are paid around 20% less than Swedish men - a similar pay difference to the one that exists in the UK. Interestingly, other EU countries with a lower pay gap don't show a correlation with better family-friendly packages: Italy has a 15% pay gap, Spain a 12% gap and Belgium and Portugal an 8% gap. None of these countries is held up as providers of great family-friendly packages - indeed, some of them, including Portugal, have systems in place that are not only a great deal less generous than that of Sweden, but also a lot less accessible.

So, to the next pit-stop in the race to improve the lot of women in the jobs market: worker segregation. This, like equal pay and access to top jobs, has long been regarded as an essential goal in the battle: women have been over-represented for ever in certain low-status sectors of the economy, and if real change is to come about, we all want to see an evening- out of the sexes across these fields.

Surely Sweden has something to boast about here? Not so, says Hakim: 75% of Swedish women are working in the public sector - traditionally the lower-paid, lower-qualified end of the employment market - while 75% of men are working in the racier, more demanding private sector. What has happened through the years of family-friendly policies, she says, is that private companies have reduced their number of female employees because they can't afford the cost of the generous maternity packages.

Ni förstår säkert, kära läsare. Ett steg på vägen mot jämställdhet skulle naturligtvis vara att privatisera mer av arbetena i den offentliga sektorn. Ett annat att individualisera föräldraförsäkringen.

Eller hur? Det stod ju i The Guardian!