Books Erase Women from Swedish History

Men rule the world of history books while women fall to the wayside, a new report released by the Delegation for Gender Equality in School holds. Writing in an editorial in Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, Ann-Sofie Ohlander and Ebba Witt-Brattström reveal that just 62 women are named in four separate history books reviewed by the delegation. In those same books, a total of 930 male names appear.

Contrary to what one would assume, women are not included more often as the books move on to discuss the modern era. One of the books, Ohlander and Witt-Brattström write, only mentions six women after the year 1900, and another doesn’t name any women at all after Queen Kristina, who died in 1689.

When women appear, they are most often written about in relation to men, for example as wives, the authors maintain.

“We have to seriously pose the question of how schoolchildren, girls as well as boys, are affected by having history presented as a male affair with traditional male perspectives that are never questioned nor discussed, a history that doesn’t leave room for women.”