Sweden is a Scandinavian nation with thousands of coastal islands and inland lakes, along with vast boreal forests and glaciated mountains. Its principal cities, eastern capital Stockholm and southwestern Gothenburg and Malm, are all coastal. Stockholm is built on 14 islands. It has more than 50 bridges, as well as the medieval old town, Gamla Stan, royal palaces and museums such as open-air Skansen.
Sweden believes that women and men should have equal power to shape society and their own lives. Often considered a gender equality role model, Sweden has come a long way. Still, theres room for improvement.
The Swedish government has declared itself a feminist government, devoted to a feminist foreign policy. Even if the idea has been met with both praise and criticism domestic and international the word feminism is not as charged in Sweden as in many other countries. The government uses the F word to stress that gender equality is vital to society and that more needs to be done to achieve it. Its no coincidence, then, that 12 of the 24 government ministers are women. Definite progress has been made since Karin Kock became the first woman in the Swedish government in 1947. Nearly half of the members of the current parliament in Sweden are also women. It may be more than most countries, but was still a drop from the 2010 and the 2006 elections.
GENDER & EQUALITY
The business sector, on the other hand, is a heavily male-dominated field. On the average board of a Swedish stock market company, almost one in three were women in 2015 a great increase compared with a few years earlier. In fact, if this development continues at the same pace, the boards of listed companies in Sweden will be gender-equal within ten years. However, theres a hitch: nine out of ten people who appoint the board members are men. Some politicians suggest quotas for women as a quicker way of achieving gender-equal board rooms. Sweden has come a long way in making sure that women and men are treated equally in the workplace. Gender discrimination in the workplace has been illegal since 1980. The Swedish Discrimination Act from 2009 demands that employers not only actively promote equality between men and women, but also take measures against harassment. The act also states
that employees and job applicants who have been or will be taking parental leave may not be treated unfairly. Cases of discrimination can be reported to the Swedish Equality Ombudsman (Diskrimineringsombudsmannen), a government agency that protects equal rights. Discrimination includes cases of unfair treatment by an employer
in connection with an employees parental leave.
Every year, the international organization World Economic Forum ranks more than 140 countries based on the gap between women and men according to indicators within health, education, economy and politics. Since 2006, Sweden has never ranked lower than 4th. But if the Global Gender Gap Report is anything to go by, on a global level workplaces still wont be truly gender-equal until 2095.
GENDER EQUALITY AT SCHOOL
Gender equality is strongly emphasized in the Education Act, the law that governs all education in Sweden. It states that gender equality should reach and guide all levels of the Swedish educational system. The principles are increasingly being incorporated into education from pre-school level onwards, with the aim of giving children the same opportunities in life, regardless of their gender, by using teaching methods that counteract traditional gender patterns and gender roles. Today, girls generally have better grades in Swedish schools than boys.
Girls also perform better in national tests and a greater proportion of girls complete upper secondary education. Whereas a few decades ago, the university realm was dominated by men, today nearly two-thirds of all university degrees in Sweden are awarded to women. Equal numbers of women and men now take part in postgraduate and doctoral studies.
An extensive welfare system that promotes a healthy work-life balance has been an important factor in making Sweden a gender-egalitarian leader. Parents are entitled to share 480 days of Parental leave when a child is born or
adopted. This leave can be taken by the month, week, day or even by the hour. Women still use most of the days, with men taking around onefourth of the parental leave on average. For 390 days, parents are entitled to nearly 80 per cent of their pay, up to a maximum of SEK 946 per day. The remaining 90 days are paid at a flat daily rate of SEK 180. Those who are not in employment are also entitled to be paid for parental leave. Sixty days of leave are allocated specifically to each parent, and cannot be transferred to the other.
In addition, one of the parents of the new-born baby gets 10 extra days of leave in connection with the birth, or 20 days if they are twins. Parents who share the transferable leave allowance equally get a SEK 50 Tax-free daily bonus for a maximum of 270 days. Adopting parents are entitled to a total of 480 days between them from the day the child comes under their care. A single parent is entitled to the full 480 days