Friday

26th Aug 2016

Focus

Swedish Feminist party's EP seat due to larger-than-life leader

  • Gudrun Schyman - credited with making it obligatory for all Swedish politicians to be feminists (Photo: Lars Lundqvist)

The success of the Feminist Initiative (FI) in gaining one seat in the European Parliament – or 5.49 percent of the Swedish votes – is credited entirely to its leader: Gudrun Schyman.

She became a public figure in 1993 when she took over as leader of the Left party (the former Communist party), shocking its members with her high heels, red lips and insistence that they were now a feminist party.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Her many critics were silenced by the fact that she swiftly doubled the party's representation in the Swedish parliament (reaching an historical 12 percent of the votes).

Schyman started the Feminist Initiative in 2005 and has continually shocked her audience by being financed by a billionaire business man, burning €10,000 in public just to make a point and claiming that discrimination in Sweden is the same as practised by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Public acknowledgement of her alcoholism or disclosure of tax evasion have not hurt the outspoken Schyman in the eyes of the voters.

Schyman was therefore naturally the focus of the FI's campaign for the European elections even though she did not run herself.

The Feminist Initiative first ran for parliament in 2006. They did not win a seat but at one point looked set to win 15 percent of the votes. This had all the established political parties scrambling to declare themselves feminists too.

Since then being a feminist has been a "must" in Swedish politics.

FI's political message is that gender issues can and should be applied to everything in society and that society should recognise how much of it is ruled by male structures.

In 2006, Schyman proposed a tax on men to pay for violence committed against women, arguing that nobody objected to men being paid higher salaries solely because they are men, so paying higher taxes for being a man would be logical.

(Her exact quote was: "Nobody's shocked that men get a 'willy bonus' on their salaries.")

The FI politician who is actually heading to the EP is less well-known, but just as strong-minded. Soraya Post, an entrepreneur, has been a Roma activist for decades.

EU parliament approves Juncker commission

MEPs have approved Juncker's new EU commission, with a slightly smaller majority than in 2010, and following a number of concessions on portfolios.

News in Brief

  1. Greeks paid €1bn more in taxes in June
  2. Greek minister denounces EU letter on former statistics chief
  3. Turks seeking asylum in Greece may cause diplomatic row
  4. Merkel becomes digital resident of Estonia
  5. Report: VW will compensate US dealers with €1bln
  6. EU mulls making Google pay news media for content
  7. Sweden to name new EU ambassador
  8. Deutsche Boerse and LSE request EU merger approval

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. HuaweiSeeds for the Future Programme to Bring Students from 50 countries to China for Much-Needed ICT Training
  2. EFASpain is not a democratic state. EFA expresses its solidarity to Arnaldo Otegi and EH Bildu
  3. UNICEFBoko Haram Violence in Lake Chad Region Leaves Children Displaced and Trapped
  4. HuaweiMaking Cities Smarter and Safer
  5. GoogleHow Google Makes Connections More Secure For Users
  6. EGBAThe EU Court of Justice Confirms the Application of Proportionality in Assessing Gambling Laws
  7. World VisionThe EU and Member States Must Not Use Overseas Aid for Promoting EU Interests
  8. Dialogue PlatformInterview: "There is a witch hunt against the Gulen Movement in Turkey"
  9. ACCAACCA Calls for ‘Future Looking’ Integrated Reporting Culture With IIRC and IAAER
  10. EURidNominate Your Favourite .eu or .ею Website for the .EU Web Awards 2016 Today!
  11. Dialogue PlatformAn Interview on Gulen Movement & Recent Coup Attempt in Turkey
  12. Counter BalanceThe Trans Adriatic Pipeline: An Opportunity or a Scam in the Making for Albania?