Sweden's gender equality policy

Equality between women and men is a fundamental constitutional norm and an explicit policy objective in Sweden. Gender equality issues became a separate policy domain already in the early 1970s and have had a central position in the public debate ever since. The ultimate aim of Swedish gender equality policy is for women and men to have the same opportunities, rights and responsibilities in all areas of life.

The objectives and methods utilised in the national gender equality efforts have changed and evolved over the years. Gender mainstreaming has been a core strategy in Swedish gender equality policy since 1994. Gender mainstreaming means that all decisions in all policy areas and at all levels shall be characterised by a gender equality perspective.

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Photo: Colourbox

In 2006, a number of gender equality objectives set out in a government bill titled Makt att forma samhället och sitt eget liv – nya mål i jämställdhetspolitiken [The Power to Shape Society and Your Own Life: Towards New Gender Equality Policy Objectives] (2005/06:155: only available in Swedish) were adopted with broad political consensus. In November 2016, the cabinet handed over a document titled Makt, mål och myndighet – en feministisk politik för en jämställd framtid [Power, Aims and Authority – Feminist Policy for a Gender-Equal Future] (2016/17:10; only available in Swedish) to the national parliament. The document set out the future direction of Swedish gender equality policy with an organisation for policy implementation, a system for follow-up, a 10-year national strategy for the prevention and elimination of men’s violence against women and two new policy sub-goals.

Gender equality policy goals

The 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. To this end, six sub-goals have been specified:

  1. Gender equal division of power and influence. Women and men are to have the same rights and opportunities to be active citizens and to shape the conditions for decision-making.
  2. Economic gender equality. Women and men must have the same opportunities and conditions as regards paid work, which give economic independence throughout life.
  3. Gender equal education. Women and men, girls and boys must have the same opportunities and conditions with regard to education, study options and personal development.
  4. Gender equal distribution of unpaid housework and provision of care. Women and men must have the same responsibility for housework and have the opportunity to give and receive care on equal terms.
  5. Gender equal health. Women and men, girls and boys must have the same conditions for a good health and be offered care on equal terms.
  6. Men’s violence against women must stop. Women and men, girls and boys, must have the same right and access to physical integrity.

Feminist government

“A feminist government ensures that a gender equality perspective is brought into policy-making on a broad front, both nationally and internationally.” Read more about the Swedish government’s view on feminist policy on the government’s webpage (opens in new window).

Last updated : 2:26 - 16 Jan, 2018