Friday, February 15, 2002

Change of the guard tonight: My husband comes home from Berlin where he's been with his students, I am packing to go to Bergen early tomorrow morning to finish the Article on blogging with Jill.

It's amusing, I noticed it again Monday when I took Jill to the tiny airport of Ørsta-Volda called Hovden where Widerøe lands a few times a day: Business travellers are men. Very often, I and the flight-attendant are the only women in the dash-8. Normally earns me a special smile and an extra piece of chocolate when the weather is calm enough for her to serve tea or coffee though.

In other companies this has caused more concern. Jill told me that her mother stopped using what for a while was called "Braathen's best", an attempt at introducing first/second class to domestic flights. It failed miserably, and made women like Jill's mother very upset, because first, her ticket would be checked over and over again by flight-attendants who assumed she was in the wrong seat, and second there would often be 20 men in Braathen's best and one woman all on her own in Braathen's back - and this woman would get no attention, no coffe, nothing. The divide was supposed to be based on the ability to pay, but it visualised what's actually fairly well hidden in Norwegian society: that men are still the privileged gender economically.

This being super-social-democratic-welfare-equality Norway we couldn't abide such a clear reminder of the real state of affairs, so Braathen's best and back is no longer. The women may sit where they like and will be served the same as the men, without having to prove that their money is as good as that of men.

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