Controversial women’s shelter chairwoman resigns

After a period of intense criticism and scrutiny, Ireen von Wachenfeldt, chairwoman of women's shelter organisation ROKS, has resigned.

Von Wachenfeldt is a high profile and influential radical feminist, who found herself at the centre of a media storm recently following her appearance in the SVT documentary ‘Könskriget’ (Battle of the Sexes). In the programme, she appeared to state that “men are animals”. But she claimed the comments was taken out of context.

After the programme was broadcast, several shelters which form the ROKS network have withdrawn from the organisation in an attempt to distance themselves from von Wachenfeldt.

In her press statement, von Wachenfeldt wrote:

“I have taken this decision after much careful thought. I believe that ROKS as an organisation must now go on in their important work. The attention on myself as a person is damaging the organisation.”

Together with other high profile figures such as ex-minister Marita Winberg and academic Eva Lundgren, von Wachenfeldt has had a large influence in establishing feminist ideas at government level. This includes the idea that there’s a structural discrimination against women throughout society.

However, new equality minister, Jens Orback has been very critical of ROKS. He accused von Wachenfeldt of introducing “separatist” policies into the organisation, when they made a central decision not to work with or employ men.

“I have a problem with that,” Orback told news agency TT. “They’re assigning a characteristic to everybody of a certain gender.”