In an interview with Svenska Dagbladet, Björklund criticized former finance minister Pär Nuder for his use of the term “meat mountain” to describe the generation born in the 1940s, a designation he felt suggested that the older generation was somehow unwanted.
“In many other cultures the word old is synonymous with experience and wisdom but in Sweden old is something that can be replaced and thrown away,” he told the newspaper.
Sweden needs a change in attitude, according to the schools minister, who takes Inga-Britt Ahlenius as a case in point. The 68-year-old Swede currently heads the UN’s internal insight division.
“In Sweden she would have been considered too old. If Winston Churchill had retired when he turned 65 he would have left politics in 1939.
“We can thank our lucky stars that they didn’t have Swedish rules back then,” the former army major told Svenska Dagbldet.
According to the newspaper, ageism has already been outlawed in the United States and Canada. Björklund would like to see an age discrimination ban constructed along the same lines as existing laws preventing discrimination on the grounds of sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability.