Sweden is ranked the most individualistic and secular country and one of the most equal countries in the world. At the same time Swedes strives for consensus more than self-expressing. This affects of course how we look at family and relationship. Swedes are open minded and different kinds of family structures are not seen as something peculiar or strange, when it comes to inter-ethnic, homosexual marriages, single parents, childless couples etc. What is more interesting is that the Swedish strive for equality crashes with traditional family structures and sometimes biology itself.
By just looking at statistics Sweden seems like an admirably country. While studying the family close up by qualitative methods it is clear that there is much going on under the statistic surface. Notions of masculinity and femininity are so deeply rooted in our culture that an important part of the change will be to redefine the housework and child caring, to see it in a new way. Perhaps the biggest challenge for gender equality is to combine today’s ideal of autonomous individuals with the family’s demands for community, nearness and intimate get-togethers.