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【她們,不該有別】政經、照護完善 北歐女性最幸福

立報/本報訊 2013.11.06 00:00
策劃、編譯■劉耘

世界經濟論壇25日發表《2013全球性別差距報告》,

北歐國家毫不意外的獨占鰲頭,菲律賓表現則驚豔各界,

造就北歐國家性別平等的關鍵為何?

菲律賓社運者又為什麼不同意這份報告結果?

冰島人是世界上數一數二最快樂又健康的人。他們人均出版書籍數量高於所有國家、擁有許多藝術家、是世上最和平的國家(這裡的警察甚至不配帶槍支)、孩童最佳的成長之地,此外,更選出了全球首位女同性戀總理。

根據世界經濟論壇的委員們,冰島也是女性的最幸福之地。《全球性別差距報告》的排名依據,取決於各國女性是否能平等取得教育和健康照護,以及是否充分參與國家政治及經濟生活。根據2013年的報告,冰島女性在這些權利上可說是樣樣不缺席。

而她們在芬蘭、挪威及瑞典的姊妹也過得相當不錯,這些國家分別占據排名的第2、3、4名。丹麥的表現也不差,排名第7。不過美國淒涼的落在第23名,比去年下降1名。

然而,這些曾被維京人殖民的國家,究竟是怎麼成為性別平等啟蒙的先驅的?其實,這些國家早期的女權發展也並不順遂。

中世紀時,冰島法律禁止女性裸露手臂或留短髮。維京族女性不能擔任領袖或法官,集會時也只能保持沉默。雖說她們可以訴請離婚並繼承遺產,但總體來說,仍不是現今世上最平等國度的理想藍圖。

造成轉變的因素之一是識字率的普及。現在幾乎所有北歐民眾都能閱讀,而這主要是受到宗教改革及早期基督教傳教士的影響,當時他們想教導所有民眾讀懂聖經。

北歐國家在歷經一段相當長的混亂局勢後,於18世紀晚期將讀寫能力視為穩固社會的力量。瑞典自1842年起實施義務教育,男女皆然。

改革帶來平等 又以世俗看道德

研究人員發現,一個社會的識字能力越普及,就越有可能是平等社會,反之亦然;但由於美國的識字率也相當高,勢必有其他因素造成北歐國家的優勢。

要了解緣由,可從宗教層面觀察。因受不了中世紀天主教會過份作為,北歐路德教派自天主教會分離出來;他們重視平等,尤其是富貧間的不平。

路德教派認為每個個體擁有一些與生俱來的權利,這些權利可不是當權者能輕易賦予的。這可能啟發了他們的女權思想。

自20世紀中葉起,丹麥、瑞典、芬蘭、挪威及冰島的路德教派國家教會都曾選出女性教士,瑞典路德教會甚至選出一位女性擔任樞機主教。

不過讓北歐國家在性別平等遙遙領先的主因或許並非宗教,因為北歐民眾並不特別熱衷於此。

他們傾向從世俗觀點看待道德,不過份狂熱地關注與性有關的議題,對於控制女性的行為和活動也興趣缺缺。

北歐國家的世俗主義將性與罪切割,而且女性也適用這個原則。他們認為女性擁有與男性一樣的權利,能夠享受性事及生育自由。

女孩與男孩在學校學習避孕法,甚至也學習性高潮帶來的愉悅感,大部分城市也設有青年診所,讓年輕人輕易獲得避孕器材。

女性懷胎18週之前可因任何理由選擇人工流產,事後再從國家健康福利委員會取得許可,而人工流產在北歐也並非飽受爭議的政治議題。

農工合作結盟 不讓商人獨大

北歐的政治經濟發展過程也與美國略有不同。雖說瑞典及挪威都曾有過可觀的帝國主義向外擴張,但這樣的行徑在拿破崙戰爭後便逐漸式微。

這些北歐國家投注在軍事上的資源較少,而軍事正是一個父權思想受到強化和鞏固的領域。冰島軍事花費占GDP的比例就是全球最低。

除此之外,在性別平等進展中也具相當影響力的工業化,則是甚晚才席捲北歐國家。19世紀的冰島社會確實也有既富有又握有權勢的商人階級,但這裡卻從未冒出如美國「鍍金年代」時的工業巨擘、財富分配也未如此極端集中;而在美國,這些往日情景再度上演於現今社會,收入不均及各種歧視似乎也隨之而來。

20世紀時,北歐國家新興城市的農人及工人傾向互助合作、在政治上結盟,而他們也確實形成能與當時商業菁英抗衡的勢力,使這些商人的影響力比美國商人遜色許多。

如同全世界的平凡百姓,北歐民眾也想要一個完善的社會及經濟體制,能讓人人有工作、期待一份體面的薪水並享受強大的社會安全網保護。

這便是他們所獲得的;有點像是羅斯福的新政,卻沒有紐約銀行家和南方保守派加諸的種種限制。北歐發展出強大的工會組織,而工會通常能促進性別平等發展。冰島擁有OECD國家中最高的工會成員數比例。

隨著時間推演,北歐國家成為現代社會民主國家,財富分配更平均,教育基本上到大學都免費,而社會安全網讓女性能安心的工作並扶養家庭。

北歐國家的母親不會因工作與家庭的平衡而焦慮,家長能獲得一年或更長的給薪育兒假。社會期待父親要與伴侶共同養育孩童,而他們似乎也相當樂在其中。

他們並非完美,女權發展仍有些任務尚待完成,像是女性在私營企業的處境,或是在如《龍紋身的女孩》這樣的流行文化中,可察覺到一股潛藏著的陰暗勢力。(譯按:《龍紋身的女孩》的瑞典原文書名為《憎恨女人的男人》)

好消息是,世界上大部分國家女性的處境都正在好轉;只不過世界經濟論壇的報告顯示,女性在另外20%的國家中,處境未有進展、或甚至惡化。(路透)

Icelanders are among the happiest and healthiest people on Earth. They publish more books per capita than any other country, and they have more artists. Iceland is the world’s most peaceful nation (the cops don’t even carry guns), and the best place for kids. Oh, and they had a lesbian head of state, the world’s first.

Iceland is also the best place to have a uterus, according to the folks at the World Economic Forum. The Global Gender Gap Report ranks countries based on where women have the most equal access to education and healthcare, and where they can participate most fully in the country’s political and economic life. According to the 2013 report, Icelandic women pretty much have it all.

Their sisters in Finland, Norway, and Sweden have it pretty good, too: those countries came in second, third and fourth, respectively. Denmark is not far behind at number seven. The U.S. comes in at a dismal 23rd, which is a notch(1) down from last year.

So how did a string of countries settled by Vikings become leaders in gender enlightenment? In fact, the early days weren’t pretty.

Medieval Icelandic law prohibited women from bearing arms or even having short hair. Viking women could not be chiefs or judges, and they had to remain silent in assemblies. On the flip side, they could request a divorce and inherit property. But that’s not quite a blueprint for the world’s premier egalitarian(2) society.

The change came with literacy, for one thing. Today almost everybody in Scandinavia can read, a legacy of the Reformation and early Christian missionaries, who were interested in teaching all citizens to read the Bible.

Following a long period of turmoil, Nordic states also turned to literacy as a stabilizing force in the late 18th century. By 1842, Sweden had made education compulsory for both boys and girls.

Researchers have found that the more literate the society in general, the more egalitarian it is likely to be, and vice versa. But the literacy rate is very high in the U.S., too, so there must be something else going on in Scandinavia.

To understand why, let’s take a look at religion. The Scandinavian Lutherans, who turned away from the excesses of the medieval Catholic Church, were concerned about equality — especially the disparity(3) between rich and poor.

They thought that individuals had some inherent rights that could not just be bestowed by the powerful, and this may have opened them to the idea of rights for women.

Lutheran state churches in Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway and Iceland have had female priests since the middle of the 20th century, and today, the Swedish Lutheran Church even has a female archbishop.

Or maybe it’s just that there’s not much religion at all. Scandinavians aren’t big churchgoers.

They tend to look at morality from a secular point of view, where there’s not so much obsessive focus on sexual issues and less interest in controlling women’s behavior and activities.

Scandinavia’s secularism decoupled sex from sin, and this worked out well for females. They came to be seen as having the right to sexual experience just like men, and reproductive freedom, too.

Girls and boys learn about contraception(4) in school (and even the pleasure of orgasms), and most cities have youth clinics where contraceptives are readily available.

Women may have an abortion for any reason up to the eighteenth week (they can seek permission from the National Board of Health and Welfare after that), and the issue is not politically controversial.

Scandinavia’s political economy also developed along somewhat different lines than America’s did. Sweden and Norway had some big imperialist adventures, but this behavior declined following the Napoleonic Wars.

Overall Nordic countries devoted fewer resources to the military — the arena where patriarchal values tend to get emphasized and entrenched(5). Iceland spends the world’s lowest percentage of GDP on its military.

Industrialization is part of the story, too: it hit the Nordic countries late. In the 19th century, Scandinavia did have a rich and powerful merchant class, but the region never produced the Gilded Age industrial titans and extreme concentration of wealth that happened in America back then, and has returned today. Income inequality and discrimination of all kinds seem to go hand-in-hand.

In the 20th century, farmers and workers in the newly populated Nordic cities tended to join together in political coalitions, and they could mount a serious challenge to the business elites, who were relatively weak compared to those in the U.S.

Like ordinary people everywhere, Scandinavians wanted a social and economic system where everyone could get a job, expect decent pay, and enjoy a strong social safety net.

And that’s what they got — kind of like Roosevelt’s New Deal without all the restrictions added by New York bankers and southern conservatives. Strong trade unions developed, which tend to promote gender equality. Iceland today has the highest rate of union membership out of any OECD country.

Over time, Scandinavian countries became modern social democratic states where wealth is more evenly distributed, education is typically free up through university, and the social safety net allows women to comfortably work and raise a family.

Scandinavian moms aren’t agonizing over work-family balance: parents can take a year or more of paid parental leave. Dads are expected to be equal partners in childrearing, and they seem to like it.

They’re not perfect — there’s still some unfinished business about how women are treated in the private sector, and we’ve sensed an undertone of darker forces in pop culture phenoms like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

The good news is that things are getting better for women in most places in the world. But the World Economic Forum report shows that the situation either remains the same or is deteriorating for women in 20 percent of countries.Reuters

關鍵字詞

1.notch(n.)等;級

2.egalitarian(a.)平等主義的

3.disparity(n.)不平等

4.contraception(a..)避孕

5.entrench(v.)確立

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