Inclusive and Women-friendly in a time of Diversity? The Scandinavian citizenship regime the childcare lesson
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Original versionThun, C. (2015). Inclusive and Women-friendly in a time of Diversity? The Scandinavian citizenship regime–the ‘childcare lesson’. Nordic Journal of Social Research, 6. http://dx.doi.org/10.15845/njsr.v6i0.516
In this article, I ask: Is the Scandinavian citizenship regime inclusive andwomen-friendly in a time of diversity? I approach this question by addressingthe intersection of gender and ethnicity in relation to social citizenship with themain concern being childcare. I emphasize Norway as a case but also seeNorway in comparison with Sweden and Denmark. In comparative studies, theScandinavian citizenship regime is presented as being the most ‘womenfriendly’.However, faced with an increasingly multicultural population, apertinent question is whether this citizenship model is able to accommodatediversity. I explore two tensions that are basic to the inclusiveness andwomen-friendliness of the Scandinavian citizenship regime in diversesocieties: 1) The tension between principles of gender equality and culturaldiversity, and 2) the tension between liberating and controlling aspects of thewelfare state. This article discusses the Norwegian family policy ‘hybrid’,which combines dual-earner support with traditional breadwinner elements.One might say that the Norwegian family ‘hybrid’ can be a solution to thetension between, on the one hand, a specific gender-equality family norm,and, on the other hand, the respect for other family norms. However, I arguethat there is a double standard with regard to minority women, and it can beunderstood in light of a discourse about Norwegianness. Parental choice isconsidered a good thing – as long as the mother in question is considered‘fully’ Norwegian. However, assumed cultural and ethnic differences – often based on stereotypical collective categories of difference – are used asboundary-markers between the majority and minorities. I conclude that,despite variations, all the Scandinavian countries grapple with the sametensions, and that there is a Scandinavian double standard regarding minoritywomen.