What's up, Europe? Gender, media and European integration. The story of a a young Dane exploring the continent.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Bara Bröst - now in Denmark!

Some time ago I mentioned 'Bara Bröst', a Swedish campaign to 'de-sexualize' breasts and make it socially acceptable for women to have a naked upper body when they, for example, go to a swimming pool. Now the campaign has reached Denmark - yesterday a group of topless women took a dive in Copenhagen.

Way to go, Danes!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Guest post: Good to talk about dads for a change!

A friend of mine just wrote a great reply to the recent question about parental leave for men! He's agreed that I can post it here, since he doesn't have his own blog. I'm grateful for that, since I think it's an interesting and though-provoking piece! For or against paternal leave by law - I hope you'll enjoy reading this.

Dads for a change...

Parental leave has been one of the important topics that I have been dealing with during one year of campaigning for more and better childcare in Europe. My conclusion is that the Icelandic model which forces dads by law to take a percentage of the parental leave is a first (good) solution. Even if generally I prefer non-legal solutions for this type of societal problems, I have to admit that the urgently needed changes in that area (change of culture) can in my opinion only be reached by forcing a little bit the change...as unfortunately in this kind of gender issues lines are moving to slowly and time is urging.

All fathers should see parental leave as a chance and by considering it as one of the most intense and important periods of their lives! This should help them to argument in front of their probably a little frustrated and "women-afraid colleagues" who should try to harass or ridicule them when taking parental leave. Men should try to imagine all the possible changes that would occur in their formerly very gender oriented vision of parenthood once they would agree to take their part of the active parent job as from the start on:

  • Their partner would feel less isolated, less tired, less stressed, less only-mother and more-woman-like...I don't know if you can imagine what positive changes in the daily couple-life this will induce, but I can tell you, especially for the last argument it has been a terribly intense and funny period for us ;-)
  • Giving birth certainly is a reserved women's domain, rising and educating children from birth on is certainly not a matter of gender, but much more a matter of discovering that both men and women can give and receive a lot when taking care of a young child.
  • Building up a strong and “life-long-learning relationship” with your child is something that one should invest in from the very beginning on, as I am convinced this will make the most qualitatively high difference in the relationship with your child for the rest of your life.
  • Acting and not reacting in the framework of "modern" fatherhood will be your very contribution to the achieving of gender balance and will allow you to be n positively constructing actor and not a victim of modern times, which will certainly help you to cope with this new situation without having the impression to loose your virility...

So fathers, if you don’t want to be harassed change your view on the basic things of life…we can discuss all the difficulties and traps being induced by the fact that only women take parental leave, and though the solution lies on the side of men…at least for half of it. So if you don’t want to do it for the sake of the person you chose to have children with, do it for your child and even for yourself...and never forget that women can be our strongest allies and our best enemies at the same time ;-)

Out of my personal experience I can only tell you that I have been missing hugs and a kind of special relationship with my father, which until the end of my teenage life was based on a very cold and patriarchal way of looking at the things of life…I don’t know that if he had taken parental leave it would have completely changed his way of dealing with it’s kids and wife, but at least he would have given me the chance to also influence his life of young father…it is all a matter of give and take…like with nearly all essential things in life!

So yes, the PES should push men to take their parental leave, because politics is all about changing society for the better - I am sure there could not be a better start for change than this!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What happened to Anders Fogh's Facebook profile?

Is it still out there - and if not, does anyone know what happened to it?

Friday, December 07, 2007

Yes, dads would like to stay at home too

As mentioned earlier I'm trying to give my input to the 2009 manifesto for the Party of European Socialists (Danes, it's the English word for 'De Europæiske Socialdemokrater'). Today there's a really interesting topic for debate on the website; namely paternal leave.

As I have said before I am for when it comes to, by law, obliging fathers to take a certain percentage of the leave. Both to overcome the cultural barriers to men taking parental leave (it seems that it's difficult for some employers to understand that men has the right to a role in their children's life) and to ensure that the leave does not become a trap for women. As the PES manifesto website says: "Problems such as women’s lower wages and the fact that women advance less can easily be traced back to maternity leave and being absent from the workplace for many months – in some cases even years..."

In my opinion European legislation makes sense in this area. If there's cultural obstacles to men taking leave in Scandinavia - how is the outlook then for the rest of Europe? If I remember correctly, the Scandinavian countries have the lowest percentage of house wifes in the world. If we are to move forward with gender equality in Europe I certainly think it makes sense to begin here. So, PES Women, the answer to your question from Scratching the Surface is a clear 'yes!'

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The naughty chess game

Now since I have closed my other blog, I will have to write about EU communication curiosities here. It seems like the European Commission has developed a sense of humour with the lauch of its YouTube channel, EUtube. I have written about it before.

Take a look at the safe sex campaign video: