As much as 85-95 per cent of respondents agree that they want to live in an equitable society.
So why have we never achieved this?
Well, because we live in a society that is governed and maintained by the norms that support the existing power structure.
Dichotomies – how our brains lay the foundations for inequality
Knowledge, self-realisation and courage – tools in equality work
One fundamental approach entails focusing on the individual and, at the same time, seeing the barrier structures. It is at individual level that the problems with inequality manifest themselves, while it is the barrier structures that we both can and should influence.
The problem is that we have norms and are unable to handle people who do not fit in with these norms.
– The trick is to shift our gaze from the individual to the organisational structures and to change them, according to Torbjörn Mässing.
One fundamental analysis that everyone can conduct as part of their partnership project is based on the above description of dichotomy. The analysis involves, quite simply, looking at how we sort (segregation/apartheid) and which of the two groupings have the highest status (hierarchy/power analysis).
Tomas often uses equality as an example. The analysis quickly shows that segregation begins at birth, with boys, for example, being given greater freedom to act and allowed to go further than girls.
If we let this freedom to act stand for hierarchy, we can see that this pattern is retained into working life and public contexts, with men often occupying 2/3 of the space in public meetings and in the media.
Tomas notes, here, that it has to do both with quantity and with quality – don’t just look at the number of newspaper articles in which men comment, look at what they’re talking about too, and about the status of what they’re commenting on.
The so-called 4R method takes this even further. In the example above, we’ve dealt with R1 and R2. Which leaves us with the third stage, which involves analysing the effects of R1 and R2, and the final stage, R4, which involves drawing up action plans.
R3: Realia (equality analysis: what are the consequences of R1 and R2?)
R4: Results (draw up action plans)
>> Find out more about the 4R method at jämställ.nu!
Tip for Municipal Partnership actors:
Don’t just measure “empty spaces” when analysing equality: we must fill these spaces with content. So don’t just count the number of men and women in your activities: interview both men and women about their perceptions.
Look for expertise within your own organisation. The municipality, county council or region will always have a number of extremely knowledgeable people when it comes to gender and diversity. Invite them in to discuss your municipal partnership, particularly in the run-up to applications. Discuss how you can incorporate equality into the project’s planning, implementation and results!