Moira Uggla: Moira Uggla: ”Money wasn't to be thrown away on an education for girls”
My mother was the second-youngest of six siblings. Her father died when she was eleven. She would have liked to be a doctor, but money wasn't to be thrown away on an education for girls. Girls would just get married and become housewives. It was the boys who should make a career and start a family.
”In the '60's there were still housewives”Moira Uggla
So my mother's younger brother was able to continue his studies. He became a journalist and worked as a sports reporter until he retired. My mother found a job on the local paper. She started in the office and advanced to become a local reporter. She stopped working when she got married – and became a housewife.
I graduated from Edinburgh University and trained as a teacher of English, French and German. When I came to Sweden in the '60's there were still housewives. They competed with one another in various branches of the Swedish Housewives' Championships, such as having the cleanest windows and embroidering the prettiest cloths for the coffee-table. Not quite my cup of tea! I could only look on in amazement as 'seven kinds of biscuits' magically appeared at an afternoon coffee-session.
And the small-talk centred around Mrs P's new curtains, Mr T's difficulty in walking, the B's dog that barked all the time.
”It is encouraging to see all the young fathers pushing prams around in the town”Moira Uggla
At some point in the 1970's the housewife era began to die out. The child care system was developed, and more and more women started working outside the home.
But women still had the main responsibility for running the home and looking after the children. It took a long time until men began to realise that they had an equal responsibility.
Since 1995 there is a law governing parental leave, that is, the right for parents to have time off work when they have a new baby. They can stay at home until the child is eighteen months old. The parents must share the parental leave. It is encouraging to see all the young fathers pushing prams around in the town.
”In 2015 it was at last the turn of the women in Saudi Arabia”Moira Uggla
For more than a hundred years we have celebrated International Women's Day on 8th March. Even now conditions for women all around the world vary. But progress has been made. For example when it comes to women's right to vote. The first country to allow women to vote was New Zealand, in 1893. A hundred years ago, in 1921, all women in Sweden were allowed to vote for the first time. Women in Switzerland did not have the right to vote until 1971. And in 2015 it was at last the turn of the women in Saudi Arabia.
Things that would have been impossible for my grandmother are routine today. And I, as a girl, could go to university.
I wonder what things will be like in fifty years? Keep it up, girls!