The Nordic Paradox with which I am familiar is that countries with more egalitarian laws and social norms also have the widest wage gaps between men and women and also the most gendered workplaces (women in the human professions and men in the STEM professions; alternatively women working with people, men working with things.)
Judge points out a different version of the paradox.
Earlier this month, The Washington Post reported on a study that reveals that European countries with the best record of gender equality also have the highest rate of domestic violence against women. In what is called “the Nordic paradox,” Enrique Gracia of the University of Valencia and Juan Merlo of the University of Lund found that Denmark, Sweden and Finland have higher rates of intimate partner violence (IPV) against women than countries like Poland, Croatia and Slovenia. Perhaps you might think that women in liberal countries are less repressed and thus more free to report violence against them, skewing the numbers upward. But as the Washington Post notes, “Gracia and Merlo consider this possibility but don’t seem to find it convincing.”Judge points out a different confounding variable which offers a degree of explanatory power.
Washington Post reporter Adam Taylor was baffled by the findings: “This may come as a surprise. You might well expect better gender equality to mean less violence against women. To add to the intrigue, when you look at European countries with relatively low levels of gender equality—Italy or Greece, for example—they seem to have lower levels of IPV.”
But the findings are only a surprise if you, like Adam Taylor, ignore a crucial factor: religion. The chart of violence against women published by Gracia and Merlo is like a track of the least religious to the most religious countries in Europe. According to The New York Times, Denmark and Sweden are “among the least religious nations in the world.” Poland, which scores very low on the domestic violence scale, is a stronghold of traditional Catholic belief.Interesting hypothesis.
Although it’s rare to find this acknowledged in mainstream media, and despite what liberals think, traditional religious beliefs, particularly traditional Christianity, provide a level of love, support, and mutual respect that the secular state cannot replace. Orthodox religious observance in a place like Poland inculcates in men the idea that their wives and girlfriends are their partners in a sacramental journey that has been ordained by God.