This content was published in the period between 3 October 2014 and 20 January 2019

Ministers on this page who have left the Government

Between 3 October 2014 and 30 November 2021 he was Prime Minister. 

Between 3 October 2014 and 8 March 2018 she was Minister for Children, the Elderly and Gender Equality.

Ministers on this page who have left the Government

Between 3 October 2014 and 30 November 2021 he was Prime Minister. 

Between 3 October 2014 and 8 March 2018 she was Minister for Children, the Elderly and Gender Equality.

“Gender equality will be a priority in the amending budget”

Published Updated

Dagens Nyheter 22 januari 2015

The World Economic Forum is currently taking place in Davos. One of the key issues Sweden will highlight there is the importance of greater gender equality between women and men. Sweden is, and must be, a leading country in the area of gender equality.

The Swedish Government is a feminist government. We place gender equality at the core of both national and international work. Gender equality is ultimately a question of democracy and social justice. Everyone should be free to be the person they are without being locked into gender norms. This is also part of the Government’s idea of the modern welfare state. Gender equality contributes to economic growth.

Employment levels should therefore be equally high among women as they are among men. Women should be in gainful employment to the same extent as men, with a good working environment and career opportunities. The pay gap between the genders must be reduced. Everyone must have the right to work full-time and be financially independent.

But we have a long way to go. There is still a difference of SEK 3.5 million in lifetime earnings between women and men in Sweden. Women still account for the majority of unpaid work and men only take a quarter of parental insurance days. We are currently seeing a situation in which many women are forced to reduce their working hours because welfare provision is not up to standard, because staffing levels in elderly care are too low or because preschool opening hours are too inflexible.

In its budget, the Government planned major investments to reduce the gender equality gap. We proposed major investments in increased staffing levels in elderly care so that people do not have to reduce their working hours to care for their elderly relatives, a responsibility that women often shoulder. We planned major investments in maternity care and women’s health. We also raised maintenance support for single parents and we wanted to extend preschool opening times to cover unsocial working hours, so that single parents – often mothers – are able to accept the jobs that are offered and support their children. Unfortunately, the Alliance – together with the Sweden Democrats – voted against the Government’s budget.

We now want to make parental insurance more gender-equal by introducing a third insurance month that is reserved for the other parent. The centre-right parties and the Sweden Democrats have so far chosen instead to continue supporting the strongly criticised child-raising allowance, despite the fact that evaluations have shown that this allowance keeps the most financially vulnerable women out of the labour market. This is a reactionary policy that is leading Sweden in completely the wrong direction.

Sweden’s new Government is now moving forward in building up the world’s first gender-equal central government administration, and we are attaching much greater weight to gender equality policy in the Government Offices as well. It is already clear that the new Government Offices is completely gender-equal in terms of women and men in politically appointed positions. Thanks to a conscious appointment and recruitment process, we have an equal number of women and men as ministers, state secretaries and political advisers.

A feminist government is not content merely having analysed the consequences of its political decisions; it also ensures that they lead to greater gender equality. Feminism must be a central theme running through all of the Government’s policies, through all of its priorities and decisions. For this reason, we have taken the initiative to create a steering group within the Government Offices to provide all ministers with tools to ensure that a gender equality focus is reflected in all of the Government’s work. We are also starting work on gender equality budgeting.

In addition, all ministries will be instructed to work on gender mainstreaming in all of their activities. This means that decisions in all policy areas must have a clear gender perspective.

A development programme for gender mainstreaming is currently under way in 18 government agencies. The lessons from this programme will now be shared with more agencies. The Government will therefore expand this initiative to cover 41 agencies, including the Swedish Social Insurance Agency and the Swedish Tax Agency. In their appropriation directions, the agencies will report on how they plan to work on gender mainstreaming during the period 2015–2018 to help achieve the gender equality policy objectives. Each agency will describe how gender equality can be embedded in the mainstream of its regular activities, such as the agency’s management processes.

Swedish gender equality efforts have served our country well. Besides being morally right, gender equality has contributed to Sweden’s high levels of employment and growth. But it has not happened by itself; it is largely the result of political decisions, such as reserving the first and second months of parental benefit for fathers, and removing joint taxation.

A feminist government’s ambitions for greater gender equality apply both nationally and in terms of our international cooperation. Developments in the world are moving forward. Today, we have as many girls as boys starting primary school throughout the world, the proportion of women in the world’s parliaments has grown, and more women are working in sectors other than agriculture in a global perspective. This is a positive trend, but much remains to be done.

Swedish aid is to help combat the systematic subordination of women and girls in society. The absence of all forms of violence against women and girls is key to this. The Government is prioritising work to promote sexual and reproductive health and rights.

So far, it has been mainly women pursuing gender equality efforts. In recent years, however, there has been a growing awareness, both globally and in Sweden, of the role of men and boys in gender equality work. The participation of men and boys is an important part of the Government’s strategic gender equality work. This is clear, for example, through our commitment to the UN campaign HeForShe.

It is our strongly held conviction that politics must continue to advance gender equality work. We want a gender equality policy that reflects the Sweden of today and everyone who lives in our country. This is not an issue that will resolve itself. The Government will therefore prioritise reforms that lead to greater gender equality in the coming Budget Bill and in the amending budget we will be presenting this spring.

Current and future generations must be met by a gender-equal society in which every individual can reach their full potential. Gender equality is not just right; it is a smart policy that creates growth and development. Half of the world’s talent must have the opportunity to blossom.

Stefan Löfven, Prime Minister
Åsa Regnér, Minister for Gender Equality

Ministers on this page who have left the Government

Between 3 October 2014 and 30 November 2021 he was Prime Minister. 

Between 3 October 2014 and 8 March 2018 she was Minister for Children, the Elderly and Gender Equality.

Ministers on this page who have left the Government

Between 3 October 2014 and 30 November 2021 he was Prime Minister. 

Between 3 October 2014 and 8 March 2018 she was Minister for Children, the Elderly and Gender Equality.