The Gender Equality Paradox

In 2008, Norway was the number one country in gender equality according to a survey done by World Economic Forum.

The Gender Equality Paradox, produced in 2010, is the first episode of a Norwegian documentary series that questions how much of human behaviour is acquired through the social environment and how much of it is innate, i.e. acquired at birth. The documentary suggests that gender research in Norway has been ignoring studies that imply that male and female have behavioral differences that are innate.

The series sparked a debate in Norwegian society. In 2011, the Nordic Gender Institute, a resource- and information centre on gender research and gender equality, was closed down by the Norwegian government. Harald Eia, the author of the documentary series, was awarded a prize for promoting free speech.

The remaining six episodes of the series are available from here and are worth watching.

In this project, I am not that much interested in whether or not we are all equal at birth; we may as well be all different. What I am interested in is the way in which the social environment normalizes our differences. Social gender is a normalization that divides us into two groups, Male and Female, each of which has a set of expected behaviours. This normalization, among other things, constrains the way in which men and woman relate and the way in which they see each other and themselves in that relation.

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