Exploring Activism among Swedish Nurses and Midwives: Patriarchy, Proletarization and Professionalization
This paper deals with two protests initiated by care workers in Sweden. The first protest, which began in 2011, is carried out by nursing graduates and its main objective is to raise entry wages in the nursing profession. The second protest, initiated by midwives in 2012, is directed against the current deficiencies in Swedish maternity care. The overarching aim of this paper is to explore the implications of nursing/midwifery as gendered professions in relation to these protests. More specifically, I focus on the possible manifestation of gender stereotyping in the content of protest and in the public debate. In line with these objectives, a qualitative approach is adopted. The theoretical dimensions of patriarchy, proletarization and professionalization are used to analyze framing processes among the protesters themselves as well as in the media debate. The intersecting practices of these dimensions are highlighted, which points to the importance of studying the contemporary struggles for professional recognition in nursing/midwifery in relation to the gendered “nature” of care work and the neoliberal restructuring of healthcare. The results of this study imply that these overlapping dimensions create difficulties in which certain overarching structures, such as the feminization of care work, remain largely obscure.
new public management
collective action frames