Sub-target 1: Equal division of power and influence

The Government’s first gender equality policy sub-target is to achieve an ‘Equal distribution of power and influence’ in society and ensure that women and men have the same rights and opportunities to be active citizens and to shape the conditions for decision-making in all sectors of society.

Illustration: Annika Carlsson

Formal barriers such as financial and social factors must not prevent women from having the same opportunities as men to be active members of society and shape the conditions for decision-making. The target takes aim at formal political rights – the opportunity to participate in democratic processes both as voters and elected representatives.

The possibility of influencing the content of decisions requires participation in decision-making. If women are to be able to hold half of the real power, regardless of sector, influence over which issues on the agenda are addressed or rejected is required. This applies both to decision-making processes at all political levels in society, including at U level, and to arenas outside the formal democratic system.

Participation in decision-making on equal terms

Women and men must also be able to participate on equal terms with regard to informal decision-making chains. In light of this, the terms for decision-making are also included in the wording of the target. The target also takes aim at the distribution of the power that lies outside the formal democratic system, for example in civil society, companies and media channels. Sporting organisations and religious communities are also considered to be part of civil society. This also concerns equal opportunities for women and men to participate in and influence the processes that form our conceptions, thoughts and ideas in the media, culture, research, liberal adult education and the education system.

An equal division of power and influence between women and men in all sectors of society is of course no guarantee that real power will be distributed equally between the sexes, but it is a decisive factor for ensuring that the qualitative aspects of the exercise of power can also be nudged in a gender-equal direction.