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Ann Towns, Erika Karlsson, and Joshua Eyre, "The equality conundrum: Gender and nation in the ideology of the Sweden Democrats," Party Politics, 20 (March 2014), 237-247. [Available at ]

First paragraph:
In 2010, the self-proclaimed nationalist and social conservative party Sweden Democrats (SD) was voted into the Swedish parliament with 5.7 percent of the vote. Although another party highly critical of immigration--New Democracy - had served one term in the Riksdag in 1991-1994, the SD is a new phenomenon in Swedish parliamentary party politics. Unlike New Democracy, the SD has its roots in the Nazi movement. All nine members of the executive committee at the time of founding in 1988 had strong ties to the racist Keep Sweden Swedish (Bevara Sverige Svenskt) movement, and the party leader--Anders Klarstro¨m--had a history in the Nazi Nordic National Party.1 It is estimated that around 60 percent of the members of the executive committee had, had had or were to have ties to the Nazi movement between 1989 and 1995.2 Since then, the SD has undergone a significant political make-over--including a purge of members with open Nazi sympathies--and few individuals in leadership or elected positions today have ties to or a past in the white power movement. The ideological platform has undergone a transformation as well, including a rejection of racial purity ideals, racism and the death penalty, and an elimination of the call to ban foreign adoptions. The party has always purported to support procedural democracy, and since 2005 its party programme affirms the UN Declaration of Human Rights.3 The importance of equality between men and women is 'completely self-evident' according to the 2011 party programme. What remains is thus a party that is in many ways distinct from what it was when it first emerged over two decades ago. It is also a party fraught with tensions between old and new ideas.

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Last Paragraph:
However, this is a tense alignment fraught with contradictions. Looking at the ideas as expressed by the party core, it is clear that the SD has not identified any other major problem areas other than immigration that concern women. In fact, in line with conventional right-wing nationalist ideas, the party exerts a great deal of effort to disassemble the mainstream gender equality problematique, arguing that what is--by feminists and most others - understood as a pay gap, underrepresentation of women on boards and in public office, an unfair distribution of paid and unpaid work, etc., are in fact not problems at all. A larger ratio of men in positions of power and wealth is presented as natural, leading the party to do nothing about sex differences that disfavor women while simultaneously generating many gender-related bills calling for public policy interventions in defense of the rights of men. Male superiority among Swedes is naturalized, in line with conservative nationalism. The actual contents of Swedish gender equality goals and policies, which the SD celebrates as 'our Swedish gender equality' when discussing migration and multiculturalism, is fiercely contested in all other contexts. The SD is indeed facing a difficult task handling and integrating two contending nationalist narratives--that of gender equal Sweden and that of traditional gender roles as central for the maintenance of the nation

Last updated March 2014