MANILA–Swedish women continue to enjoy gender equality and practice all the benefits of their male counterparts.
Harald Fries, the Swedish Ambassador to the Philippines said on Wednesday that what benefits their male citizen enjoys is the same with their female lass.
In a press conference at their embassy at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, Fries said that they too join women in the world celebrating International Women’s Day today as they cherish the great contribution of their female citizen.
“Sweden’s feminist foreign policy is not only promoting gender equality but aimed at making women and girls achievers.
This was emphasized by Swedish Ambassador to Philippines Harald Fries on Wednesday at a press conference over coffee and home-made cinnamons.
According to Fries, for the past 20 years, the number of female members of parliaments in Europe has doubled.
“In fact, Sweden has three female officials holding higher posts. They were Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström, Minister for European Affairs and Trade Ann Linde, and Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate Isabella Lövin,” Fries told selected reporters covering Department of Foreign Affairs.
The ambassador said women in Sweden were entitled to 240 days of maternity leave aside from an equally 240 days of paternity leave for their husband.
He said the paternity leave was transferable to their wives, regardless whether they were legally married or not but only 150 days were allowed. The remaining 90 days should be use by the husband, otherwise it will be forfeited.
He even praised the Philippines for being in the top 10 in global gender gap.
The Philippines is No. 7 next to Iceland, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Ireland, and Rwanda. Following the Philippines are Switzerland, Slovenia, and New Zealand.
Fries praised the Philippine Congress for its expanding the maternity leave credits from 90 days to 120 days.
“I might admit that I am impressed to Filipinas holding high posts both in private and public office,” he pointed out while sharing coffee and cinnamon homemade buns.
He said he was amazed after learning from the news that eight among the 10 top cadets officers who excel in the Philippine Military Academy scheduled to graduate next week are female.
Fries, who was married to a Filipina said, gender equality was one of the corner stones of their society.
“We ensure that women and men enjoy the same opportunities, rights and obligations in all areas of life,” he stressed.
He said everyone, regardless of gender, had the right to work and support themselves, to balanced career and family life, and to live without the fear of abuse and violence.
“As per study, production increases by 30 percent with more women in the work force. You see, gender equality makes sense,” Fries said.
He noted that his government is pouring USD20 million to non-government organizations promoting responsible sex like programs on sex education and distribution of contraceptives, among others.
Fries also announced that 60 Filipina nurses were recently admitted to Sweden hospitals and are now undergoing language training.
Despite efforts made by their government, he admitted that sex workers are still present. He emphasized that his government is determined to combat prostitution.
Lawmakers were forced to craft laws that buyers of sexual services receive heavier punishment and penalties to discouraged them of patronizing the oldest profession.
On abortion issue, he said, it was allowed in his country but a national board conducts investigation before they can be given green lights.