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Swedish feminists burn 100,000 kronor in wage protest

Swedish feminists burn 100,000 kronor in wage protest

Published: 06 Jul 2010 09:58 GMT+02:00
Updated: 06 Jul 2010 15:29 GMT+02:00

The Feminist Initiative (Feministisk Initiativ - Fi) carried out its promise to burn 100,000 kronor ($13,000) on Tuesday morning, claiming that a half-page ad would never have had the same impact in the fight for equal pay between the sexes.

"We are doing this for equal pay," party leader Gudrun Schyman told the assembled crowd of media and onlookers in Visby on the Baltic Sea island of Gotland on Tuesday morning.

The burning barbecue stood on a platform on Hamnplan in the city with a Fi banner as a backdrop declaring "We set fire for democracy".

100,000 kronor in 100 kronor notes was then carried in a clear plastic bag to the burning fire and Schyman then proceeded to set alight to the cash.

"Discrimination against women is allowed to continue year in and year out. It is one of the biggest scandals in our democracy that neither the parliament, government or social partners do more for the human right to not be discriminated against because of their gender," Schyman said after the last of the money was placed on the fire.

Schyman explained that the money had been donated by two men who had chosen the course of action to illustrate the amount of money that women lose per minute due to discriminatory pay.

The party claims on its website that a full-time salary for a women employed in a comparable job to a man is 4,700 kronor less, a total of 70 billion kronor per annum, or around 100,000 kronor per minute.

"I can understand that many are outraged by this. Many will say that there are plenty of worthy causes to spend this money on. But we are not a charity, we are a political party," she said.

The charismatic party leader explained that the alternative could have been to "burn" the money on a half-page advertisement in a national daily but argued that lighting a barbecue and burning the money directly would have more of an impact.

With a well-attended Hamnplan in central Visby, and headline news in all the major dailies overnight, and on Tuesday morning, Fi's 100,000 kronor calculated gamble would have appeared to have paid off.

Sweden's Riksbank confirmed on Tuesday that destroying currency is not illegal. Until 1980 there was a law that forbade the destruction of coins but this law is no longer in force.

Watch as Gudrun Schyman and Fi burn 100,000 kronor:

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:22 July 6, 2010 by byke
Isnt that against the law ?
10:28 July 6, 2010 by rugla
Exactly, especially when it is not even her own hard earned money, she is burning tax payer political funds.

Burn your hair or brand yourself with a big S or an A Gudrun! maybe that will attract the right attention!
10:31 July 6, 2010 by joshr
Could have done without the seven minutes of watching a BBQ burn in the beginning...
10:33 July 6, 2010 by hpunlimited
It is against the law to destroy bank notes(cash).

Only the "Riksbanken"= Federal reserve has the right to destroy printed bank notes to replace them with new. The actual bank notes does not belong to the holder, only the amount printed.

Hopefully this will be the end of her political career since politicians are not allowed to run for office while committing crimes.
10:49 July 6, 2010 by truthworthy
this is stupid and insane.
10:50 July 6, 2010 by salalah
It would have been better if she would have handed out 20's to women who were passing by instead. She is really stupid.
10:55 July 6, 2010 by nielsl
What a nonsense. Let's burn a bit more for immigrants, handicapped, young people, old people, polish carpenters, etc.
11:03 July 6, 2010 by Birdseed
It's not illegal (since 1980).

it's not taxpayer money (donated from two individuals who were part of planning the stunt, F! does not receive any party support).

And it got F! onto the front web page of every major newspaper for much, much less than advertising would have cost, and much less than many other groups "burnt". (The car industry, for instance, spent 16 times as much on champagne alone!)

An excellent piece of PR in general, highlighting an extremely important issue.
11:06 July 6, 2010 by J Jack
Any pay is good pay in this unemployment crisis, hell, I have no problem if i never know what my female equals are getting, more or less. That's between them and their contract. I'll do Schuman's job for peanuts if she's so unhappy, and she looks it, did you see her glasses steam up saying goodbye to that 20?

UD say's; A real hardcore "feminist" won't settle for equality; she believes she deserves more because she's a woman and she has the ability of bearing children. She also believes she's just as capable as a man would be when facing certain challenges that require strength, such as that of putting hundred-somethin' pounds worth of equipment on her back and going off into the battlefield.

Simply put, a Feminist is a woman who says she wants equality but is really expecting special treatment.
11:09 July 6, 2010 by Soft Boiled
The Suffragettes suffered to give women the right to vote. I think Gudrun should offer herself on the "Barbeque of Justice".

I´ll bring the sauce.
11:25 July 6, 2010 by hjoian
above post...LOL
11:53 July 6, 2010 by pjtaipale
The pay difference between men and women is mostly due to selections of different professions and careers: women typically choose more risk-averse careers that pay less. There is also another pay difference, which can be described as a genuine inequality, but this difference is small (a couple of %).

But then there are other kinds of inequality. Most notably, Western societies work so that men live shorter lives. Life expectancy of men in Sweden is 78.69 years, for women it is 80.97 years. (CIA Factbook numbers.)

If someone were to make a demonstration about this one, how would you burn 2.3 years of human life in a visible way?
12:12 July 6, 2010 by Rajah Selvarajah
I pity Selma Lagerlof, the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature . What would she say, seeing her image on 20 kronor currency being burnt by the women of today. Please do not 'burn her. Let her image live for a long time to come. The 100,000kr could be invested in literature or feeding of hungry mouths.

Burning currencies is equal to buring the National flag!
13:06 July 6, 2010 by Buckshot
She has a mental illness.
13:14 July 6, 2010 by glamelixir
With so many unemployed women, with so many single mothers struggling in the world... do you really think this was a good idea.

I think your cause is wonderful, but it is such a bad idea to claim attention this way.

What a missfortune, a step backwards.
13:22 July 6, 2010 by Marc the Texan
When I saw the headline, I thought it was stupid. However, she kind of sold me on her arguments for doing it. I don't know that I agree with her methods, but I think she achieved the effect she was going for.
13:25 July 6, 2010 by skatty
We are in recession now, she could wait until depression comes and then burn the money!
13:33 July 6, 2010 by SouthAfrican_in_Sweden
Half a page add would not have done the same in terms of publicity, that may be true. But it would help in maintaining the economy by paying for salaries of the male AND female employees of the newspaper and kept the cash in the system to be redistributed and increase the living conditions of all.

If everyone thought that the best way to get their point across would be to burn cash soon no-one will have any salary (equal or not).

Which these people would spend a year or two where people really suffer before acting stupid.
14:02 July 6, 2010 by Bartosz
If she is not able to think any better use of 100k SEK than buring them maybe she should reconsider changing jobs.

Also, I don't agree with the argument than it has better result than placing and add in newspaper or that other companies spend more on champagne. At least not in economic terms. Spending money always bring added value.

I agree that equal pay is important but is it really the biggest problem of women in Sweden?


I don't think that polish carpenters are social group which require this kind of the help. They can manage without it.
14:33 July 6, 2010 by bravedave
You lot who think this PR stunt was a good idea are as stupid as the old bat burning the cash.

They could have given the money to a charity instead and used that as PR.

Never, ever, vote for this party. They are clearly absolute nutters without an ounze of sense between them.
15:02 July 6, 2010 by stan2001
Theres a very reasonable (if not exactly 'good') reason that men get paid more money than women. That reason is: Children.

It is accepted that women who put their careers before their children and therefore work the same hours as men, do get paid the same and in some companies, even more than their male couterparts. The problem comes in taking time off when a child is sick, or requesting part-time hours or flexi-time to pick the kids up from school or prioritising a school play over a late night work meeting etc.

Most men simply do not do this. They prioritise work before the emotional needs of their children. They work past the end of school. They don't stay at home when the child is sick. They will work overtime at the drop of a hat. All of these commitments are hugely valuable to firms.

On the other side is maternity leave and women are their own worst enemy in this regard. Many women will quite happily take 6, 9, 12 months paid leave at the end of which they quit their jobs to look after the child full-time. This is a pretty horrendous drain on a companies finances so the cost of this is taken into account with womens salaries. Its built into the risk model of employing a woman because it is a very real risk. Its not fair but its a problem created by women. If women were honest at the start of the maternity i.e. 'I may have to reevaluate my position within the firm at the end of the leave' or simply 'I doubt I'll come back', then at least it would give ther firm the opportunity to plan for this and it is, above all else, honest.

The other work around would be to enact a law such that if you quit your job at the end of maternity leave then you would have to pay all the money back that you were given whilst on leave. This would provide certainty and securirty for businesses and allow them to start paying men and women more equally.

Of course not all or even the majority of women do this, but a significant enough a minority do to make it a very real problem. i.e. one that shows up as significant on statistical analysis.

& sure, are there still a misogynistic leftovers from a male centric world, of course. But the current problem is not one created purely by men and I think this needs to be recognised before the situation improves.

Burning money is pretty stupid.
15:22 July 6, 2010 by dobermann
One word: Idiot
16:04 July 6, 2010 by Jes
HaaH , she is drinking again !!!!
16:13 July 6, 2010 by nledit
I disagree with those who say this was good because it got them on the front page of all the newspapers... That doesn't mean it's GOOD publicity. Seems quite the opposite.

How does they know that the reason for the difference in pay between men and women is not due to the amount asked or settled on by men and women? What if the men ask for more money and don't settle and the women do? Is that a problem with the employers or is that a problem with women not asking what they are worth or thinking they are worth more?? It would have been better, and believe me, they would have been on front page just the same, if they did as someone already suggested and gave out 20KR or 100KR bills to all the females that pass by them, and along with that money, gave them a piece of paper with something short and to the point on it like "Men make more than women. We are trying to change that. Don't sell yourselves short".

That would have been good publicity. Not this stupid stunt.
16:15 July 6, 2010 by mkvgtired
@Birdseed, from yesterday's article, "The party courted controversy when they received a 400,000 kronor grant in 2007 from a state body distributing grants for gender equality projects."

So yes, taxpayers have contributed to this group. And since this is considered a "gender equality project" by the group it is very easy to make the argument that these are taxpayer funds. If they were 100% private it would not be so bad (although I would like to see if they would still be so inconsiderate if there was a group of starving children in front of them).
17:30 July 6, 2010 by ali_bin_umar
She simply reduced 100,000 to ashes...now authority must make example out of her. I suggest freeze her bank accounts, ban her political activities and imprison her according to law..
18:34 July 6, 2010 by Audrian
@Ruga and others

Burning bank notes should please Swedish government, as it is atransfer of income from Feminist acount to government account. Governments print money to replace old notes or money lost for various reasons, e.g., fire and thives who after stashing money in the forest die.

Burning money is displaying raw anger; it has not effect. As a matter of fact the transfer of money to government account (e.g., burning money) might benefit men more than it benefits women!
20:49 July 6, 2010 by nyag
What is wring with them?? They could have donated that money to the needy in Haiti or Indonesia... or any other victims of natural disaster. Or the homeless in Stockholm... All these irresponsible people are fighting to equality... that's a shame...
21:35 July 6, 2010 by J Jack
It would be interesting to see if emission of gases from 500,000 'Selmas' would warrant an environmental surcharge.
21:50 July 6, 2010 by izbz
Got no problem with women earning more than me if they can do as good as me in their job or even better. There are alot of them deseve better. But burning money????? Publicity stunt can only prove one thing ; apolitician who have no respect for the country's currency is not fit to be in politics. Not only that, also tell us that she is a dumb blond (no offence....not all blonds are dumb but this one is) Or maybe Jes#23 is right she should register in AA
23:11 July 6, 2010 by adigunbabatunde@yahoo.com
it is simply an act the displays the stupidity and callousness of the feminist. more reasons for men to earn more....
23:26 July 6, 2010 by GLO
Why couldnt she just burn her Bra, Oh! she could be a guy !!!
01:05 July 7, 2010 by jonathanjames61
I just got a new baby girl,by few weeks ago,If only this money was given to me ,it would have help me lot ,how could a person in his or her right senses do this kind of thing,when people need money to solf problems,this real satanic world,I could have buy a new laptop and send 9 million mail all over sweden for this campaing of equal riigh of print 9 million flyers on a foto copies machine to get the message accros,its true those with head nevre get the right caps to fit niether those with cap the right head to wear them.
01:09 July 7, 2010 by khiz
You people are so un predictable :)
04:11 July 7, 2010 by Da Goat
better still they could donate the money to me and burn some counterfeits nobody would be any wiser that way.

maybe she was smart and pocketed the real cash and burnt fakes...... if not then I agree she is as smart as a stubborn ass !
06:59 July 7, 2010 by Sherian Elizabeth
I have seen and heard about many STUPID, MEANINGLESS things in life. This takes the cake for being completely insane, stupid, dumb, crazy and just plain, please someone come up with a word for this clueless woman.....is she so rich that money can be just burnt for what, her stupid ideas? She just proved how women can't get higher wages. If all she wants is attention, she got it and in the wrong way. Go ride a horse naked through the streets of Stockholm if you want attention lady, should she even be called a lady?

09:19 July 7, 2010 by izbz
Maybe she is trying to burn some paper money for her ancestor just like alot of Chinese do in Asia during The Hungry Ghost Festival.

But I guess she was trying to prove something indeed, but got really back fired! But wouldn't it be smarter to give it to single mothers and unemploy women, ask them to collect say 2000kr each queing up and before doing so announce that these 100000 is consisdered burnt . 2000kr each is not much but by doing that she will be remembered for a long,long time. And will gain alot of votes. But now I will always remember her burning money on Hungry Ghost Festival and a person that do not have respect for the country's currency.

Just remember that for an average income guy like me I'll have to save about 6500 to 7000kr a month for a whole damn year to do that, (ie approximately with bank interest)
15:30 July 7, 2010 by rohara
OK PEOPLE! Wake the #@*?!?%! up!

This is the REAL reason for the wage gap:

Women do not like cold hard cash as much as men do and think nothing of burning it because they do not work as hard to earn it and this only confirms it! Here is how this works: men earn money and women burn it. Simple reality. IT WORKS, TRY IT!!!!!!!!
17:23 July 7, 2010 by Marx
Typical feminist lies ... Note how it is MEN who give the money over, note how the feminist do NOT explain WHY men EARN more money... note how they blame MEN for women's choices...

Basically, feminists do not want you to know the full reality of the so-called 'wage gap'. It should be renamed to "women's choices gap".
06:28 July 8, 2010 by Ārya
okay.... she might be a weird old lady gone berserk... but cant believe so many people supported this lunacy and even praised this as a good publicity stunt, Unbelievable !!

come on folk... get a life... im sure she wud have got even better publicity by shooting a few guys... u know.. to get even with men....

Thinks thats even better idea... huh ?!!
08:17 July 8, 2010 by pathan
men r paid more so as to pay for the idiocracy of women n it has been proved here once again (2 men giving the charity) .. hehehhehe
14:02 July 8, 2010 by adigunbabatunde@yahoo.com
haha I think I have a better and cheaper way for them to pass accross their message. they will not only make swedish headlines but worldwide headlines. she could have bougth a seat on SAS and crash it into riskdagen to pass accross their message. That way, the whole world would know with just a 2000sek ticket on the flight, that way the feminist get a way of teaching the bloody male pilot and majority male passenger a big lesson.

One problem with sweden and its causing people to either mis-interprete the freedom in the land. Men and women are equal but our physiological and emotional feature often makes them fit into different situation.

I hope we realise that it cost money to print money, and this cost is quite significant compare with the value on the money printed. she should be jailed for what she did.....1sek= 1year....

07:29 July 9, 2010 by flintis
Absolutely shameful.

She & the party should be ashamed of themselves, millions of people starving & she burns what would be several yrs wages to some people.
20:17 July 9, 2010 by nuke
Isn't it wonderful that we are so now so wealthy we can burn money to make a point :-)

Wonder what people in developing countries think of this...
20:32 July 9, 2010 by expatjourno
When women start preferring younger, poorer men, they may start splitting the parental leave more evenly. As it is, women take most of the parental leave partly because the household income would suffer a bigger hit if the older man with the better job took as much time off.

Of course, since women will never prefer younger, poorer men, maybe the best thing is to allow each parent to take no more than half of the parental leave.
22:34 July 9, 2010 by Rayh
I knew Gudrun was losing her marbles when she started whining that Swedish men were worse than the Taliban. With this latest stunt I think she's hit rock bottom.
16:39 July 10, 2010 by Cage
An intelligent logical debate and discussion can help to validate the complaints presented in the public burning of currency. I think if she would seek the counsel of a younger feminist, like this one for example, http://www.thelocal.se/gallery/stockholm/1760/04/

she may find that men and women can achieve true equality.
20:35 July 14, 2010 by Sam1
They have no common sense!! Stupid extremist. You could have helped like 10 women get medical treatment or fix their rotten teeth. Or even help obesity. with that money!!

Idiot feminist !!! they are exactly like gays they think they can give birth without the other sex..
20:23 July 17, 2010 by Marko2010S
That's why women should never ever be in control. They should only take care of cooking, washing clothes, cleaning and kids.
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