A Feminist Government
Sweden has the first feminist government in the world. This means that gender equality is central to the Government’s priorities – in decision-making and resource allocation. A feminist government ensures that a gender equality perspective is brought into policy-making on a broad front, both nationally and internationally. Women and men must have the same power to shape society and their own lives. This is a human right and a matter of democracy and justice.
Gender equality is also part of the solution to society’s challenges and a matter of course in a modern welfare state – for justice and economic development. The Government’s most important tool for implementing feminist policy is gender mainstreaming, of which gender-responsive budgeting is an important component.
Feminist policy must make a difference in people’s daily lives and experiences
Since 21 January 2019, Sweden has a new feminist Government. “We will use our policies to build a society in which all people have equal value and equal rights, opportunities and responsibilities, and in which no one is limited by their gender,” say Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and Minister for Gender Equality Åsa Lindhagen.
The Governments sub-targets for gender equality
The Governments overarching goal of the gender equality policy is that women and men are to have the same power to shape society and their own lives. Starting from this objective, the Government is working towards six sub-goals.
Gender-equality – central to the Swedish Government’s policy-making
Feminist policy for a gender-equal society
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven: "It is with strength and pride that I continue to lead the work of our feminist government. This work obliges all government ministers to contribute to the development and implementation of policy that gives women and men, girls and boys the same power to shape society and their own lives. This is how we build a stronger society and a safer Sweden. "
Vigorous efforts to combat violence
Minister for Gender Equality, with responsibility for anti-discrimination and anti-segregation Åsa Lindhagen: “All individuals should be safe in their own homes. I want to strengthen efforts to combat men’s violence against women and honour-related violence. Adults and children who are subjected to violence must receive support and help quickly. We also need to work on prevention, increase knowledge about honour-related violence and oppression, and ensure that people who use violence stop doing so.”
Feminist foreign policy
Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström: "The feminist foreign policy has had a major impact. We are seeing a number of countries and actors follow suit. We will now further develop and deepen this policy. This will involve initiatives for women’s economic rights, SRHR, and the peace, women and security agenda. Within all of these areas it is crucial to promote women’s and girls’ rights, representation and resources."
Gender equality contributes to economic development
Minister for Finance Magdalena Andersson: "Getting more women born abroad into work is important for the economy, but even more important for gender equality. No matter where you were born, you have the right to make the same journey towards self-determination through your own income, as many women did in Sweden in the 1950s, 60s and 70s."
Stronger gender-equality in the welfare sector
Minister for Health and Social Affairs Lena Hallengren: “Universal welfare has been and remains crucial for Sweden’s successful gender equality work. Our country must have medical care and elderly care that are of the absolute highest standard. A majority of those who work in the welfare sector are women and it is through their hard work that Sweden functions. These women – and men – must have a well-balanced working life so that they stay healthy up to and beyond pension age."
It is men who must change
Minister for Justice and Migration Morgan Johansson: “If men’s sexual harassment and sexual offences against women are to cease, it is men who must change. Last year, the most stringent legislation on sexual crime Sweden has ever had was introduced. Sweden now has a Consent Act, tougher penalties and better support for victims of crime. We also need more early measures to prevent violence, and we need to continue supporting women’s shelters and victim support groups.”
Half the power, full pay
Minister for Employment Ylva Johansson: “My goal is for women to have half the power and full pay. This requires change. During the last electoral period, the employment rate of women increased, especially among those born abroad. This is a step in the right direction. Full-time work should be the norm across the entire labour market, and parental responsibility must be divided equally. Sickness absence is higher for women than for men. A concerted effort is needed to improve women’s physical and psychosocial work environment.”
A toxin-free environment is an important gender equality issue
Minister for Environment and Climate, and Deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lövin: “The environment and sustainability are gender equality issues. Around the world we see how girls and women in particular are being severely affected by the results of climate change. Yet women are under-represented in the forums in which decisions are taken that affect the climate and, ultimately, people’s everyday lives. Women of child-bearing age and children are also the groups that are particularly vulnerable to the effects of dangerous substances throughout the world. By protecting the most vulnerable groups, we create a good environment for everyone.
Gender inequality in society affects us our whole lives
Minister for Social Security Annika Strandhäll: “To break gender inequality we must take action from many directions simultaneously. We must achieve more gender-equal responsibility for children and family, a more gender-equal working life in which women are not over-represented in terms of ill health, and more gender-equal pay so that in the end pensions are also gender-equal. Everything is interlinked.”
Feminist trade policy
Minister for Foreign Trade, with responsibility for Nordic affairs Ann Linde: "Gender equality is not only right, it is also economically smart. When women and girls have equal access to the economy and the labour market, this also leads to more sustainable growth and development. This is why we have produced a tool for analysing trade agreements from a gender equality perspective. And this is why we are continuing efforts to break new ground for women and girls in the economic area. Discriminatory laws and stereotypes that prevent women’s economic participation must be combated."
Feminist development policy
Minister for International Development Cooperation Peter Eriksson: "Women and girls are still subjected to systematic discrimination and subjugation throughout the world. In recent years we have also seen setbacks in efforts for global gender equality and girls’ and women’s opportunities for empowerment and independence. Sweden’s feminist foreign and development policy works as a counterweight and is essential for countless women and girls. I am proud to represent Sweden’s feminist government and will devote my full energies to pursuing these issues."
Sweden must be the most gender-equal country in the world
Minister for Infrastructure Tomas Eneroth: "The transport sector must be more gender-equal. Pursuing gender equality efforts is not just the right thing to do, it is also a matter of survival for the entire sector. This involves creating the conditions for more women to discover the shipping, aviation, railway and road haulage industries. This is where people should want to apply, develop and remain. The sector has to increase the pace of this. I will not tire of reminding people of this. Sweden must be the most gender-equal country in the world."
Zero tolerance of sexual harassment applies to all
Minister for Higher Education and Research Matilda Ernkrans: “Me too has shed light on sexual harassment and abuses. There are far too many precarious jobs at universities and other higher education institutions, and research shows that this makes women particularly vulnerable. Too many women keep quiet about harassment so as not to jeopardise their own career or education. People must be able to speak up in academia so that irregularities are uncovered and immediate action is taken. Zero tolerance of sexual harassment must of course apply to both students and staff. I want to create safe higher education institutions in which women and men can work on equal terms and have the same opportunities to enjoy an academic career.”
Active gender equality efforts are a given in a modern central government administration
Minister for Public Administration Ardalan Shekarabi: "Central government must be an attractive and exemplary employer. The Government has set a number of interim targets for central government employers. These include increasing the number of women in leading positions and reducing wage gaps between women and men working in central government. The trends in both of these areas are positive. In terms of agency heads employed by the Government, the gender balance is stable, and women have been greater in number for a couple of years now."
Women’s lack of security is one of the biggest gender equality challenges of our time
Minister for Home Affairs Mikael Damberg: "For women and men to have the same power to shape society and their own lives, it is crucial that we all feel free to live exactly as we wish. Unfortunately this is not the situation today, when women are the ones who feel most unsafe and the proportion of women who say that they have been subjected to sexual crime is increasing. Putting an end to men’s violence against women and improving women’s safety is therefore absolutely crucial if we are to achieve the gender equality policy objectives. The way to achieve this involves more police employees and giving the police better and sharper tools in the form of effective and necessary legislation. We have begun work on this, but a great deal more will be needed during this electoral period."
Our democracy is founded on principles of equal rights for all
Minister for Culture and Democracy with responsibility for sport Amanda Lind: “Gender equality is a prerequisite for all people having equal rights and opportunities. The Me too movement showed that there is a long way to go until this is a reality. We have a great deal of work left to do to permanently break the culture of silence and to put an end to discrimination, sexual harassment and abuse. In Sweden, it shouldn’t matter who you are – you should have the opportunity to take part in our democracy, express your opinions and practice and experience culture and sport.”
State-owned companies are showing the way on gender equality
Minister for Enterprise Ibrahim Baylan: "Gender equality and sustainability are areas in which the Government has shown the way in its governance of state-owned companies. The portfolio of state-owned companies is currently perhaps one of the world’s most gender-equal in terms of make-up of governing boards. The issue of gender equality is important for a dynamic and successful business sector. I want to continue pushing for state-owned companies to make use of the skills of both women and men, as well as people with different backgrounds and experience."
Equal conditions throughout the country – for all
Minister for Rural Affairs Jennie Nilsson: "For me it is a given that the conditions for living and working throughout the country should be equal – regardless of sex or where in the country you live. Together we must improve gender equality in several sectors in my area of responsibility, strengthen welfare in rural areas and ensure that more people – not least women – are able to live and work in Sweden’s rural areas."
Equal rights and obligations
Minister for Defence Peter Hultqvist: "Gender equality is as much about equal rights as it is about equal obligations. The fact that the reactivated national total defence service is equal for both men and women is very positive. This is both right in itself, and leads to a better and stronger defence."
Education free from restrictive gender roles
Minister for Education Anna Ekström: “Everyone is entitled to education. Every individual should be able to shape their life without being held back by restrictive gender roles.”
A more gender-equal construction industry builds a better society
Minister for Financial Markets and Housing, Deputy Minister for Finance Per Bolund: “The construction industry needs to be more gender-equal. This is important not least to attract more young people, both men and women, to work in it.”
A gender-equal Europe for security and prosperity
Minister for EU Affairs Hans Dahlgren: “We are working for a Europe in which women’s place in the labour market is self-evident and in which the terms of employment are gender-equal and create security and prosperity for normal people. Where fairness, growth and cohesion go hand in hand.”
More women on our IT education programmes
Minister for Energy and Digital Development Anders Ygeman:"Sweden is a successful country within digitalisation, but to retain our position we need more digital specialists. An important part of achieving this is working to ensure that more women choose to study on IT education programmes. We need to highlight the women role models working in this area today, and we need more of them. Everyone’s skills are needed for Sweden to be best in the world at using the opportunities of digitalisation. "
- 1 Minister for Gender Equality to highlight Consent Act at summit on girls’ and women’s rights
- 2 Handbook on Sweden’s feminist foreign policy launched
- 3 Consent – the basic requirement of new sexual offence legislation
- 4 Sweden best in the EU on gender equality
- 5 Gender equality policy in Sweden
- 6 Gender-responsive budgeting
Content about A Feminist Government
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Consent – the basic requirement of new sexual offences legislation
Fact sheet: The Government is proposing the introduction of new legislation regarding sexual consent that states the obvious: if sex is not voluntary it is illegal.
Sub-target 6: Men’s violence against women must end
The Government’s sixth gender equality policy sub-target is that ‘Men’s violence against women must end’. Women and men and girls and boys must have the same rights and opportunities to bodily integrity.
Sub-target 5: Gender-equal health
The Government’s fifth gender equality policy sub-target is ‘Gender-equal health’. Women and men and girls and boys must have the same opportunities and conditions for good health and be offered health and social care on equal terms. Gender-equal health is a target in itself, but good health for women and men and girls and boys also contributes to gender-equal and active participation in society.
Sub-target 4: An even division of unpaid housework and care work
The Government’s fourth gender equality policy sub-target is ‘An even distribution of unpaid housework and care work’. Women and men must have the same responsibility for housework and have the opportunity to give and receive care on equal terms.
Sub-target 3: Gender-equitable education
The third gender equality policy sub-target is ‘Gender-equitable education’. Women and men and girls and boys must have the same opportunities and conditions with regard to education and training, study choices and personal development.
Sub-target 2: Financial gender equality
The Government’s second gender equality policy sub-target is ‘Financial gender equality’. Women and men must have the same opportunities and conditions with regard to paid work, which gives financial independence throughout life.
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.
The Government of Sweden’s measures against sexual violence and harassment
One of the Swedish Government’s gender equality policy sub-goals is that men’s violence against women must stop. With reference to #metoo, the following lists some examples of implemented and forthcoming measures to counteract sexual violence, harassment and assault.
The Government of Sweden takes action against sexual violence and harassment
The #metoo movement in Sweden strongly demonstrates that more needs to be done to combat sexual harassment and sexual violence in workplaces and society at large. The Swedish Government requires all employers to take responsibility for a secure work environment. In the area of work environment and discrimination there are already many tools and relevant legislation, but the power and size of the petitions show that there are deficiencies in compliance with the regulations. For this reason, Minister for Employment Ylva Johansson and Minister for Gender Equality Åsa Regnér have met with the labour market and union partners, and several ministers have in recent weeks convened meetings with heads of government agencies and business leaders in order to focus on the responsibility of employers to counteract sexual violence and harassment.
ICMEO - focus and background
After being hosted by Germany, Austria and Luxemburg, Sweden is now to run with the ball. The 4th ICMEO conference in Stockholm focuses on change of social norms and stereotypes as ways to strengthen focus on men and boys and their role in gender equality politics and efforts.