Rosenberg quits Feminist Initiative

Tiina Rosenberg, one of the founders of Sweden's feminist party, the Feminist Initiative (FI), is to stand down from the board.

Writing on the comment page of daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter, Rosenberg declared that it is impossible in the current climate to combine academic work with politics. She claimed that her research into gender is threatened and said that she wanted to continue her work at Stockholm University, where she is a professor.

Rosenberg is leaving the board of FI but will remain a member of the party.

“The media pressure and the threats made against me in these last few weeks have been altogether too much of a strain on me and my family,” she said in a press release.

The Feminist Initiative, led by former Left Party leader Gudrun Schyman, has been the focus of an enormous amount of media attention since its launch in April of this year.

A combination of radical policies, colourful personalities and public in-fighting has seen the party lurch from public relations coups to public relations disasters, often in the same week.

Tiina Rosenberg, with her outspokenness on the not insignificant subject of men and alleged bullying of other board members, has borne the brunt of the criticism. She says that homophobia and media pressure are the forces behind her departure.

“I will continue to be a member, but I am leaving the board in the hope that I can get a little peace and quiet. It is not right that I should be such a focus for the media when instead it should be discussing feminist politics,” said Rosenberg.

Gudrun Schyman said that it was a pity that Rosenberg had decided to quit.

“She is leaving her position on the board because she does not want to pay the price of being in the public eye, and she has good reasons for that,” said Schyman.

“She has been highly exposed, both by the media and by homophobes in general.”

Rosenberg is the fourth of the high profile founders of FI to leave the board. But Schyman said that that did not alter the party’s goal.

“I believe many understand that what we are working on is provocative for many, since we are saying that we are not satisfied simply with the rhetoric of equality. We want to see it in practice and that means challenging the power order of society, which is both old and strong,” she said.

Gudrun Schyman told the news agency TT that it is a major problem for democracy when people are forced to leave a political role because of threats and hate mail.

“What’s happened to Tiina Rosenberg shows that there is powerful homophobia in society, which finds expression in serious attacks,” she said.

“In media debates she has been reduced from being a researcher and teacher to being Sweden’s dyke.”

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TT/The Local