Sweden made history on Wednesday by choosing its first female prime minister. This was, of course, a historic achievement for the northern European nation but sadly, it is one that will be remembered as a great, big flop.
She was out before anyone had time to make an off-color joke about sandwiches that needed to be made, as her coalition government fell apart and she was honor-bound to resign.
Magdalena Andersson of Sweden’s center-left Social Democratic Party was prime minister for about seven hours, The New York Times reported, before she was forced to resign over an ill-fated budget deal that went awry.
Andersson had just successfully formed a two-party minority government along with Sweden’s Green Party when their proposed budget was rejected in favor of a budget proposed by the Sweden Democrats party, which the Times described as the nationalist, anti-immigrant, neo-Nazi affiliated, far-right party.
This caused the Green Party to quit Andersson’s coalition in disgust, forcing her to step down from her newly broken glass ceiling.
“Her resignation plunged Sweden into political uncertainty. The country’s political landscape was already frayed by fragile coalition governments and a vote of no confidence in June against the former prime minister, Stefan Lofven,” the Times reported. “Ms. Andersson later succeeded Mr. Lofven as leader of the Social Democrats.”
Andersson explained in a Facebook post just hours after her announcement that she had been made the prime minister that her resignation was done in accordance with Sweden’s constitution.
“According to constitutional practice, a coalition government should resign if one party leaves the government,” she reportedly wrote. “For me, it is about respect, but I also do not want to lead a government where there may be grounds to question its legitimacy.”
The brief history maker says she is still willing to serve as prime minister — in a one-party government.
This sounds rather like the history made by Vice President Kamala Harris last week, when she became the first woman to temporarily hold presidential powers because President Joe Biden was getting a colonoscopy — no doubt inspiring the dreams of many little girls that, one day, they too could aspire to be backup president should the sitting commander-in-chief ever need a close-up look of his intestines.
Harris, of course, is the first female vice president in history, a job she got not so much because of her experience, wit or likability, but because of her intersectional merit.
This is playing out pretty much as predicted as the most history she’s made since taking office (other than the whole colonoscopy thing) is having historically low approval ratings and failing, save for one time, to visit the southern border during a raging crisis, which she was tasked with heading up.
The moral of the story? A person’s gender doesn’t really matter if the leadership skills aren’t there.
I think Andersson’s short-lived historic first teaches us the same lesson.
Her government fell apart because of politics, and if she were a man, it wouldn’t have been very remarkable that she got elected in the first place. It just goes to show that, if women want the same seats at the table that men have, then they must be judged by the same standards that men are, particularly when it comes to leadership.
Who cares that Andersson is the first female anything? She didn’t have what it takes to keep her government together, so Sweden certainly has bigger problems than the gender of the person who has been put in charge.
This is why it is wrong to celebrate a person simply for the intersectional boxes they check. By becoming obsessed with identity, western, progressive culture has stopped valuing integrity altogether.
We need to stop valuing people for their gender, sexual identity and the color of their skin, and start valuing them for their moral character and solid leadership skills.
Maybe we should stop teaching little girls that the only way they will be valued by society is if they aspire to the roles previously assumed by men and start teaching them that they’re valuable just as they are, in whatever aspiration they may have, even if that’s “just” raising a family or “just” pursuing a career typically regarded as more feminine.
The last several decades of broken glass ceilings haven’t been working out too great for western civilization, anyway. Perhaps it’s time to repair some of the values that have been broken as progressive politics have eclipsed time-honored cultural values.
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