Weekly Highlight: 08.04.2008

Denmark:

In love with our mirror images
07.04.2008

A survey shows that Danes are prone to finding partners like themselves, especially in terms of educational background. 
Danes have an increasing tendency of choosing partners with the same educational level as themselves, according to a recent study, and experts warn the trend may have serious social consequences.
The Epinion Capacent survey for newsletter A4 showed that two out of three of the 1504 Danes surveyed with tertiary educations invariably found themselves with someone who had an equivalent level of schooling.
Only every seventh person with a university level background coupled up with someone without.
The study also indicated that those without any formal training usually found like-minded partners.
Although this way of choosing partners is nothing new, the tendency has become more widespread than ever, A4’s study confirmed.
‘What we’re seeing is that more and more women are climbing up the educational ladder,’ said Jens Bonke, a sociologist. ‘This means that more well-educated women are coupling up with equally educated men.’
In the past, he said, a doctor would have paired up with a nurse or his secretary, but now, chances were that he would fall for a fellow student or someone from his dorm.
Experts fear that the tendency will have a negative effect on the gap between people without formal training and those with high-level educational backgrounds.
‘And we thought that higher levels of education among women was without side-effects and that it would play a part in minimising social inequality,’ said Bonke.
According to Bonke, there was a backlash to this development, where socially hereditary norms and backgrounds would become even more prominent in future generations.
Kenneth Reinicke, a gender expert, said that the real losers were men without impressive diplomas. With women becoming better-educated, these men were discarded as potential partners.
A ‘social ghettoisation’ was, according to another sociologist, Eva Steensig, where society was headed.
‘The study shows that we’re looking for people who are mirror images of ourselves when it comes to life values, norms and ways of living,’ she said.
‘We’re barricading ourselves against those who aren’t like us and this will affect those at the bottom who don’t have a choice. We’re heading towards a new class system.’ (LYT)

Finland:

Women with Kids Earn Less than Childless Peers
Published 05.04.2008, 15.28

The salaries of women with children are slow to rise years after they have returned to work, reports the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat.
If a woman has been at home with her children for one or two years, she can expect to earn 8 to 11 percent less the first year back at work than women without kids. If a woman waits two or more years to return to her job, she may earn up to 19 percent less the first year back than women with no children.
It generally takes three years for the salaries of women with children to reach the salaries of women who are not mothers. The longer a woman stays at home with her children, the longer it will take for her salary to reach that of her female peers.
A similar salary gap for fathers was not witnessed.
The study was carried out by the Research Institute of the Finnish Economy, the Labour Institute for Economic Research, and the Finnish Institute for Occupational Health.

Netherlands:

Starters’ salaries rise 10%
Monday 07 April 2008

Starting salaries for university and college graduates have risen 10% over the past two years, according to research by the Hay Group.
The average annual starting salary for someone with a degree is now €31,710.
Salary levels have been boosted by the shortage in qualified staff, the Hay Group said.

Norway:

Opera and ballet at bottom
First published: 04 Apr 2008, 14:22

One in four Norwegians have “an especially negative” view of the opera and ballet, according to a new opinion poll.
In the survey, carried out by Synovate for the Forum for Culture and Business, 23 percent of the respondents rated opera and ballet equally in the lowest spot on the cultural activities scale.
Marching bands and stand-up comics are also unbearable for many, with 16 percent of those surveyed rating each of these at the bottom of their list.
When asked which cultural activities are viewed as “especially positive”, ballet got the booby prize, with just 4 per cent of the votes, while opera, marching bands, and jazz each got the thumbs up from just 8 percent of those polled.

Sweden:

Swedish ice cream trucks ‘a form of torture’
Published: 7 Apr 08 12:30 CET

Selling ice cream and candy with enticing melodies ought to be outlawed because it is connected to child obesity.
The suggestion comes from Bo Sjöberg, a professor at the Sahlgrenska Academy in Gothenburg, who compares the repetition of ice cream trucks’ jingle with modern torture methods.
“Selling with enticing melodies results in poor health and serious problems for many people,” writes the professor in a letter to consumer minister Nyamko Sabuni.

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