I come from a country where equality has an important place in society. Class, sex, gender, age or race; it is important that we are all treated alike in Norway. It has not always been this way, and we must be grateful and pay respect to the ones that have fought for these rights in past times. Despite the fact that it is important, it is sometimes hard to balance such issues in politics. Many would suggest that we are not being just to immigrants or that we are not successful in treating the elderly well, but when it comes to equality for women we have come a long way. Or have we not?
Young women today take an equal pay, or a right to work or vote for granted. If a girl were to be denied employment on the grounds of her gender or if she was sexually harassed at work it would reach the media in no time and the organization would be named and shamed for their actions. In recent years there has been an unfortunate ‘wave’ of rape in some of the big cities and therefore we now have parades to spread awareness of the issue and several campaigns arranged to follow girls safely home at night. It looks like it is going the right way, but an article by Clementine Ford gave me second thoughts.
Ford (2013) brings about the point that perhaps the media and even the public do not care as much about justice for ‘the others’ as we do about justice for ourselves. In Norway, for example, we proudly show our statistics that demonstrates that both women and men occupy leader-positions, that we are free to decide who stays home with the kids and that women are encouraged to take a place in man-dominated work forces, but at the same time we have a huge amount of sex-workers that are beaten and raped daily, and we have affiliations with trafficking where innocent girls are forced into prostitution. Many of these women may not be Norwegian citizens but it takes place in our country.
So why is it that we do not fight for these women’s’ rights? Why is there no parade for them? I cannot help but think that if most of our prostitutes were Norwegian or if women were being trafficked from Norway the whole nation would be joining a parade. I believe Ford (2013) to be right that because these women are different, or not ‘like us’ they do not get the same coverage in the media and are therefore also being marginalized.
Feminism therefore still has an important place in our countries, but perhaps we should try to open up our focus to include all women, and not only the white, middle-class women ‘like us¨.
Ford, C 2013, ‘How did we let Adrian Bayley happen?’, Daily Life, 14 June, viewed 30 April 2014, http://www.dailylife.com.au/news-and-views/dl-opinion/how-did-we-let-adrian-bayley-happen-20130613-2o67f.html