The city switched to a "feminist" system of clearing snow last winter but last week's bursts of snow, which threw the city into a chaos, has cast doubts on its effectiveness.- David Icke (yes, him) quoting Breitbart, which is telling for both
Gender-equal snow clearing is indeed a thing in Sweden. It is nowhere near as silly as many think. The point is that the people who plan the work tend to be men who drive their own cars. When they decide where to clear first, they have, unconsciously and with the best intentions, considered their own needs (where do I drive? on what roads do I and my pals drive?) rather than considering the society as a whole.
[Daniel Helldén, vice chairman of Stockholm's Traffic and Waste Management Committee:] Since it is harder to walk or cycle in 10 centimetres of snow than it is to drive, we plow walkways, cycle lanes and bus stops ahead of big roads. This primarily benefits women since studies show that more women than men walk, cycle and use public transport.- Greens demand gender-equal snowplowing, SR Radio Sweden, 9 December 2013
In short: Here's money to be made. Really.
However ... When Stockholm woke up to a dozen and a half inches of fresh snow, this didn't apply. When the people in charge realized they had an emergency situation in their hands, they simply ignored gender awareness.
Joakim Boberg at the Stockholm Traffic Office explains that with as heavy a burst of snow as this week, the priorities are crystal clear.
– Our main task is to ensure the key functions of society.
This involves first plowing the thoroughfares, main bus routes and busy main routes.
– Emergency vehicles is the first priority, then all focus is on public transport.
During the weekend snow clearers will turn to residential streets, pavements and bus stops. Gender priority was never applied, despite all the hullabaloo about how it failed. [emphasis mine]- Isobel Hadley-Kamptz, Hur svårt kan det vara att skotta undan? [Swedish link] KIT 11 November 2016
What brought the story virulence, within the country as well as internationally, was of course the magic G-word, which somehow make otherwise reliable people lose their heads and spread myths, misconceptions and stupidities like David Icke and Breitbart combined.
It didn't help that at least one responsible politician first believed that the people in charge had tried to apply GECS and failed. He got it right in later interviews:
"Gender equal snow-cleaning is not to blame here," Daniel Helldén, the city’s Green Party transport head told the Expressen newspaper, stressing that the policy, which prioritises cleaning pavements and cycle lanes over roads, did not even appear to have even been followed.- Stockholm defends 'gender-equal' snow clearing, The Local, 12 November 2016