Monday, August 15, 2016

Gender and Marriage in the Faroes

Tyler Cowen reports that many young women leave the Faroe Islands to study and never come back:
There are already 2,000 more men than women on the Faroes – which has a total population of just under 50,000 – and some of those men have taken matters into their own hands by importing wives and companions from the Philippines and Thailand.

Filipinos and Thais make up two of the largest groups of foreigners on the Faroe Islands . There are now 200 Thais and Filipinos – mostly women – spread out over the islands. In the tiny hamlet of Klaksvík located in the northern part of the islands, there are already 15 women from Asia.

Bjarni Ziska Dahl, who married his Filipino wife in 2010, said that the foreign women could well be the answer to the issues facing the Faros. “We must recognise that there is a problem, and welcome these strangers with dignity,” Dahl told DR Nyheder. “We need these people.”

Both Dahl and his wife Che said that they have a lot in common: island life, a dedication to family and a longing for simplicity. Dahl said that Asian woman are often willing to take jobs that Faroese women will not do.
We have had local gender disparities for centuries, mostly because of men leaving home to find work. Now many rural areas and small towns are seeing women leave for office jobs in the big city.

The attraction of men and women to different kinds of work, and the different geographic distributions of the work they prefer, is just another of the myriad social problems we are dealing with in the globalized, post-patriarchal age.


Unknown said...

I get the sense that there is a split between a certain distinctive portion of women who seek social advancement, which they associate with urban areas, education, and office jobs, and who seek to marry men with similar qualities, and a certain distinctive portion of men who do not seek these things. One can see it in the gendered pattern of seeking higher education in the US as well. I wonder if part of the issue is that these men see a greater chance of failure for themselves, and see greater danger in that failure, than women who seek social advancement.

G. Verloren said...

The Faroes are barren rocks jutting out of the frigid sea. They're harsh, empty, inhospitable places. They're always cold, always wet, and always gray. It is a bleak, dismal place to live out a life, and the lives thus lived are often parochial and smothering due to the outmoded culture and worldview.

Let the population dwindle away, I say. How could it ever be worth it to sacrifice the happiness and prosperity of so many people just to cling to these rocks and the stubborn traditions that they're home to?

If the young folk today all want to leave, why would you imagine raising yet another generation on these islands wouldn't result in them wanting to leave as well? Why condemn them to be born in such a place, only to spend their own youths yearning for anything else and striving to leave, never to return? Why take such extreme measures to preserve a society that the coming generations don't wish to see preserved, and certainly don't care to be a part of?

Shadow said...

From the Wiki entry on The Faroes:

"Recent DNA analyses have revealed that Y chromosomes, tracing male descent, are 87% Scandinavian.[41] The studies show that mitochondrial DNA, tracing female descent, is 84% Celtic.[42]"

What story if does this tell? Is this dichotomy normal?

Were the Celts there first, and then came the Norse wiping out and replacing the male population?

Or am I misinterpreting or giving this more emphasis than it deserves? I don't know enough about this kind of stuff.

Irene Fuerst said...

The men who settled there may have come from Viking settlements in Ireland, where they took wives. Alternatively, they may have acquired Irish wives during or after settling in the Faroes.

There may have been Irish settlements prior to the Vikings, but they were probably monastic and either easily slaughtered or driven off.

Shadow said...

"The men who settled there may have come from Viking settlements in Ireland, where they took wives."

Ah, that makes sense. Thanks.