En icke-feministisk jämställdhetsblogg

Om ekvalism

måndag 1 juni 2015

Healthier parents with traditional gender roles (English version)

(This is a rough translation and slight modification of my blog post in Swedish with the same title).

The Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) released a report on June 1 with the title "Gender equality and sickness absence"*. It shows that fathers as well as mothers run an approximately 10 percent** lower risk than otherwise to be on sick leave for more than 14 days - if they live in a traditional relationship regarding gender roles where the man takes the main responsibility at work while the woman takes the main responsibility for domestic work.

The author of the report writes in the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet:
"The report shows that family situations which entail a traditional division of labour with the man as the main breadwinner and the woman as the main responsible person for the unpaid domestic work have the lowest sickness absence rates. Other family situations entail a higher sickness absence rate both for women and men.
The report also shows that the effect of gender equality in the family on the sickness absence rate may have been strengthened during the latter half of the 2000s".
Nevertheless, the author continues to claim (in the same article) that Sweden might as well continue its social engineering regarding labour division and concurrently work on changing attitudes on gender roles at home and at work, because it could allegedly strengthen Sweden's competitiveness. This reasoning is somewhat too much wishful thinking for my taste. An unhealthier population can hardly be more competitive.

*The Swedish Social Insurance Agency has changed URLs several times for the report. If the link doesn't work, try a Google search for "Jämställdhet och sjukfrånvaro" (the report title in Swedish).

**Tables 3 and 4 in the report provide more exact numbers. Mothers in traditional (labour divided) families had a 12% lower sickness absence rate than average mothers while mothers in families with equal division of labour at home and at work had a 15% higher rate than average. Fathers in traditional families had a 10% lower rate than average, while fathers in so-called "gender equal" families had a 7% higher sickness absence rate than average. Thus, interestingly, women seem to be more strongly negatively affected by gender related social engineering than men.

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