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Week 10: Sweden works for gender equality abroad but loses at home

During the week, gender equality was debated in connection with International Women's Day. The Swedish government is actively working on proposals to strengthen gender equality, both nationally and globally. At the same time, Sweden has lost in certain areas according to the EU's gender equality index.
- This is something that we have a hard time accepting, because we believe that we are the best at gender equality in Sweden, says gender researcher Anneli Häyrén to DN.

During the week, International Women's Day has attracted attention in several media, both with a focus on the situation in Sweden and on the situation of women globally. UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutérres stated in a debate article, published by Aftonbladet, that inequality between women and men has been exacerbated by the pandemic and that several advances in greater equality have been erased. He emphasizes that measures must be aimed specifically at improving women's conditions when the world's countries recover from the pandemic, which the World Bank's CEO Mari Pangestu also insists on in an interview with Dagens Nyheter. The outside world reports on Sweden's role in global gender equality. Sweden, together with four other countries, is working on proposals for action plans to strengthen global gender equality work, which will be presented at international gender equality conferences in Mexico and Paris this year.

At the same time, voices have been raised about gender equality at home. In connection with the International Women's Day on March 8, Sweden's women's lobby released the report “Women in Sweden 2021” on how Sweden complies with the UN Women's Convention in the areas of labor market, education, health and violence against women. In DN, Sweden's women's lobby argues that inequality persists and that women's lives have even deteriorated in certain areas over the past five years. For example, violence against women has not decreased, women's working environment has deteriorated and women still receive lower wages than men for the same work, which affects women's finances further into retirement age. This is also highlighted in ETC by the chairman of Tantpatrullen, Birgitta Sevefjort, who points out that men on average have SEK 6500 more in pension per month than women, according to Statistics Sweden, the gap between those with the highest and lowest pension has increased by 167 percent in 25 years .

- The feminist government has been in power for almost two terms, but the major reforms still shine with their absence, say Clara Berglund and Anna Giotas-Sandquist from Sweden's women's lobby in DN.

It has also been pointed out that Sweden is losing its status as the most equal country in the EU, partly due to the fact that all other Nordic countries have more women in leading positions in large companies in the business sector. Johanna Sundbäck writes in DN that the proportion of women in the Swedish large companies' management groups has stood at 25 percent for the past five years. Norway passed 25 percent in 2018 and both Iceland and Finland have caught up with Sweden. In Sweden, men also still take very little parental leave. Gender researcher Anneli Häyrén tells DN that men and women are joining classic gender roles more now than before.

- In the dictatorship of Belarus, for example, you do not have the same wage differences as in Sweden. And Bangladesh has had a larger proportion of women in parliament since the 2000s. This is something that we have a hard time accepting, because we believe that we are the best at gender equality in Sweden, says Anneli Häyrén. At the same time, she emphasizes that today there are two opposites in the fight for gender equality, at the same time as development is slowing down, it is also moving forward.

The image of gender equality in Sweden is thus mixed; The business community is said to be less equal in Sweden than in the rest of the Nordic region, but at the political level Sweden has the most equal parliament among the EU countries and is at the top when it comes to the gender distribution among ministers, according to TT in Göteborgsposten. Sweden is also behind most EU countries when it comes to having or having had an elected female head of state or government, something that is often seen as a symbol of increased gender equality in politics.


A selection of the last week's editorial and debate articles about Sweden's role in the world: 

Gender equality in Sweden

"The feminist government has not improved women's lives" - DN.SE
Clara Berglund, Anna Giotas-Sandquist (Sweden's women's lobby), Dagens Nyheter

Women's work is not visible in the pension envelope
Birgitta Sevefjord, Dagens ETC

Women's shelters must be heard, seen and cost | ETC
Linda Zetterström / Hannah Blaad / Agnes Westberg / Olga Fare, ETC.

Yes, feminism must go much further | ETC
Mia Shield, ETC.

Nordic countries go around Sweden in gender equality work - DN.SE
Johanna Sundbäck, Dagens Nyheter

Swedish Parliament most equal in the EU | GP
TT, Gothenburg Post


Gender equality in the world

The corona crisis carries a woman's face
Antonio Guterres, Aftonbladet

World Bank: Women take the big blow in the pandemic crisis - DN.SE
Carl Johan von Seth, Dagens Nyheter

Sweden behind new proposals to strengthen global gender equality work - OmVärlden (
Erik Halkjaer, The outside world


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