'Man tax' to pay for abuse
of women?

Swedish lawmakers propose fee to pay societal cost of male violence

Posted: October 7, 2004
1:00 a.m. Eastern



Swedish lawmakers have proposed a new tax on those who happen to be men that would go to paying the societal costs of abuse toward women.

The idea by the Parliament's Left Party was to be debated this week, reported the London Daily Telegraph. The paper cites an Amnesty International report earlier this year that found violence against women increased almost 40 percent in the nation during the 1990s and that 20 to 40 women are battered to death in Sweden each year.


"It must be clear to all we have a gigantic social problem and cost in men's violence toward, women and we must discuss how we are going to pay for it," Gudrun Schyman, the party's former leader, told the paper.

"We have to have a discussion so that men understand that they have a collective financial responsibility."

The Left Party has 30 members in the 349-seat Swedish Parliament and supports the Social Democratic minority government. The party proposes setting up a task force to determine the cost of treating women victims of violence and then coming up with a tax level for the nation's men.

The Telegraph reported that while the fate of the measure is unknown, 45 percent of the legislative body is female, the highest proportion in any parliament in the world.

Reuters reports Sweden already has the highest taxes in the European Union as a percentage of gross domestic product, as it struggles to pay for its cradle-to-grave welfare program.

In a speech in 2002, Schyman claimed discrimination in Sweden followed "the same pattern" as in Afghanistan under the Taliban.