Gender Notes: A short note about Greenland

December 19, 2014

Greenland looks pretty massive on the map. It’s actually only sparsely populated (about 57,000 residents). I don’t really know what else lives there. In my mind it’s just polar bears and the ghosts of dead Vikings. But what they have done is attempt to de-institutionalize sexism in a way the U.S. should pay attention to.

We can’t even pass an Equal Rights Amendment in this country. (Is Phyllis Schlafly dead yet?) The glass ceiling is cracking but it’s still there. There are more women serving in Congress than ever. In both houses there are 120 women serving (of 635 possible seats), and more coming in January. But guess what? Not one of them has grey hair, unlike the men. Elizabeth Warren (who I would like to see in the White House ASAP) is 65 years old and dyes her hair just like all the women there. What does that tell you about political equality?

Greenland has passed several laws to ensure gender equality and has a Gender Equality Council to insure that institutional blockages are dealt with. The economy of Greenland is based mostly in fishing, but in public sector work there are twice as many women working as men. This dedication to gender equality may be rooted in the traditions of the native Inuit people who practice flexible roles as well as the influence gender values in other Nordic cultures.

This is the stuff you look up when your a stay-at-home parent and the baby is taking a quick nap. I like to think of all the places we will take Cozy when she is older. She will spend plenty of time in Mexico, which has had a tortured history around gender (The Pope vs. the Virgin of Guadalupe is just one example.) Maybe we should plan a trip to Greenland. May 20th is “Gender Equality Day” in Greenland. How are the polar bears in May?

*And please feel free to share this with ANYONE in Greenland. I would love to get their perspective.

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