When Christine Osazuwa arrived in Stockholm in July 2017, it was the first time the Baltimore native had stepped foot on Swedish soil.
But she’d already made up her mind to stay. And having survived her first winter, she’s convinced that she made the right decision.
So just how did an American with no apparent connection to Sweden wind up living in Stockholm?
“I knew what most Americans know about Sweden, that it’s very liberal and there are a lot of opportunities,” Christine tells The Local.
Following the US election, Christine and her husband packed their bags and figuratively set sail for Stockholm, seeking a city more in line with their political beliefs.
For Christine, it was also a priority to move somewhere she could fulfil her potential as a woman.
The couple knew about Sweden’s glowing reputation for equality — a reputation often galvanised as ranking after ranking declares it the best (or thereabouts) at, well, nearly everything.
To top it off, Sweden has never finished lower than fourth in the annual Global Gender Gap report which, since 2006, has measured equality in economics, politics, education, and health.
Impressive, yes, but rankings aren’t everything. What’s the point in being the poster child for equality if reality doesn’t live up to the expectation?
When it comes to gender equality, however, Sweden’s capital doesn’t just talk the talk. Stockholm is proof that a whole city can embrace equal opportunities and emerge stronger and more prosperous on the other side.
For the first six months, Christine took Swedish lessons and worked remotely as a consultant before being offered a full-time role as a data analyst at Universal Music Group.
On starting her new job, she was pleasantly surprised to find the two people working alongside her on the analyst team were both women.
“It was a totally new experience for me,” she says.
Christine has also been amazed by how many of her Stockholm-based female friends have high-flying careers in tech, typically a male-dominated industry. One friend, she says, has just landed a role at a video game company while another is a software developer at Spotify.
“My female friends are all working in jobs that would almost 100 percent be done by men in the States. It’s so interesting to be in this situation, and amazing that young girls can constantly see role models that look like them.”
But it hasn’t always been the case. As with most countries, the situation for women in Sweden wasn’t as promising in the past as it is today.