Sweden has developed a modern industrial culture based on natural resources, technical skills, and a sense of quality. Along with this modern culture, the roles of Swedish women have changed drastically in the last 100 years. The degree to which and the speed with which changes have occurred, however, are somewhat more difficult to evaluate. In this paper, I will present some data related to gender roles in the family. I will also include some examples of child rearing, division of labor between the spouses and gender roles in relation to cohabitation and marriage. This data will allude to evidence of changes in female employment rates and fertility rates as well as some important information on governmental policies in Sweden.
Sweden is an essentially atheistic and non-moralistic society with open-minded norms concerning the way men and women choose to live together. The choice between a formal marriage and informal cohabitation has for a long time been an essentially private matter. There is no set way to any particular family formation, Swedish family law (last revised in 1987) is not confined to married couples. The law treats unmarried and married couples equally in most aspects. For example, the law makes no distinction between married and unmarried couples with respect to tax assessment or housing allowances or child benefits (Hoem, 39). This liberal view, later encoded in the law, may help explain Sweden so rapidly accepted non-marital cohabitation compared to many other countries, soon regarding it as a social institution rather than as deviant behavior.
Non-marital cohabitation is not a new practice in Sweden, especially in Stockholm and in the northern parts of the country. According to Swedish history, there were two different types of cohabitation at the beginning of the century. One very visible type was called samvetsäktenskap (marriage of... [continues]
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