Picture taken on November 9, 2016 shows cars covered with snow in Sundbyberg near Stockholm.  / AFP / JONATHAN NACKSTRAND        (Photo credit should read JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)

‘Feminist’ Snow-Plowing System Brings Stockholm to a Standstill

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By Heat Street Staff | 3:37 am, November 17, 2016

A “feminist” strategy for clearing the roads of snow in Stockholm ended in failure as the city ground to a halt in recent days.

A new system, suggested by progressive politicians in the Swedish city, tore up tried and tested snow plow routes and diverted them to areas said to be used more by women.

But the inevitable consequence was that other spaces – like main roads – were clogged up for longer, and it became impossible to get around.

Public transport failed, traffic piled up and injuries requiring a hospital visit reportedly spiked.

The disaster struck despite a $270,000 increase in this year’s snow removal budget meant to help the new system succeed.

A scene from Stockholm, a city usually well-equipped to deal with snowy weather
A scene from the storm in Stockholm, a city usually well-equipped to deal with snowy weather

The “gender equal” strategy came in last year after politicians in the Swedish Green Party argued that the old way of clearing major roads in central areas favours men, who are more likely to work in the city, and get there by car.

Instead, the plows were sent to clear out sidewalks and cycle paths – on the basis that women walk and bike often. They also focused on areas like kindergartens, which children and parents visit in the morning.

This public information video (in Swedish, but still comprehensible) illustrates some of the ideology:

Unfortunately, the theory did little to save Stockholm when a bumper snowfall hit at the end of last week.

Indeed, almost a week later buses are still struggling to run, and some 1,700 public transport passengers are planning to sue.

Progressive politicians have gone on the defensive, with the MP who suggested it claiming that the snow plows hadn’t executed the “gender-equal” plan properly.

Despite efforts to defend it, the plan has become a laughing stock.

Even liberal publications like Stockholm’s Dagens Nyheter published  this mocking listicle of “9 alternatives to feminist snow removal”, including Satanic snow removal (“melt the snow with burning crosses”) and Neoliberal snow removal (“the invisible hand of the market will move it”).

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