The Nordic countries are the most gender equal nations in the world, but at the same time, they also have a disproportionately high rate of intimate partner violence against women. This is perplexing because logically violence against women would be expected to drop as women gained equal status in a society. A new study explores this contradictory situation, which has been labeled the ‘Nordic paradox.’What is the rate in Scandinavia?
Denmark clocks in at about 32%, Finland at 30%, and Sweden at 28%But what does that compare to? I couldn't access the study and it is remarkable how hard to it is to find objective empirical data comparing countries. The closest I could get was a WHO study which reported non-Latin North America (i.e. Canada and USA), the rate was the lowest in the world at 23%. I'll take the US as 23% compared the Scandinavian rate of 28-32%.
Interesting. I lived in Sweden for five years in the early 1970s. Sweden is a very egalitarian society. I was very familiar with the irony that Scandinavia has very family friendly policies that read like a dream to many third wave feminists in the USA but which result, unintentionally, in women having a much lower presence in competitive fields of endeavor compared to their sisters in the USA.
This is the first time that I have heard of high rates of intimate partner violence in Scandinavia. It runs counter to much that I assume I know about Sweden and the other countries of the region. Alcohol is a perennial issue and I can see that as being perhaps a significant contributor to elevated domestic violence rates but my first instinct is that there must be some definitional or data collection issue instead. The researchers feel like they have controlled for that.
I am perplexed. Experience and assumptions are not matching data. I have to accept some conditionality to my assumptions pending further more robust data.
There is a very wide ranging discussion in the comments section including this from commenter Jason K.
There are never any paradoxes. The appearance of what seems to be a paradox is simply the illumination of one’s ignorance.Boom.