Statement by Minister for Foreign Affairs Ann Linde

Published

At Generation Equality Forum in Paris.

Check against delivery.

Excellencies, friends, co-leaders of the Action Coalition, and participants around the world,

Sweden is a global champion for gender equality, and a proud co-leader of the Action Coalition on Economic Justice and Rights.

In this capacity, Sweden has pushed for a rights and gender perspective in the COVID-19 response. We know that women and girls in the world have been severely affected by the crisis, not least by increased gender-based violence. Still, the gender perspective is often disregarded in the crisis response. We cannot let this crisis become a “recession for women and girls”. That is why Sweden has pushed for this on all arenas. In my role as Chairperson-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, gender equality in the COVID response, Women, Peace and Security, and women’s economic empowerment have been important priorities. Ladies and gentlemen,

Gender equality has been central to Sweden’s development as a welfare state. This is a matter of human rights and of democracy.

Key Swedish reforms include separate income taxation, public child and elderly care, and gender-neutral parental leave. These reforms have contributed to a high labour market participation, to women’s economic empowerment, economic prosperity, and to gender equality.

We need to increase gender equality on the labour market and implement the decent work agenda. This includes social dialogue. When partners on the labour market dialogue and negotiate, gender equality can be strengthened. The Swedish initiative Global Deal, hosted by OECD and ILO, is an effort in this regard.  

I am very proud that Sweden, in 2014, was the first country in the world to announce a Feminist Foreign Policy with the aim to strengthen women’s and girls’ Rights, Representation and Resources. This policy has had a significant influence, and other countries have followed suit.

I would also like to take the opportunity to highlight gender and trade. We need to assure that trade benefits women equally to men. This is why Sweden, in 2019, proclaimed a feminist trade policy.

In addition to all these broad commitments, I would today like to announce that Sweden this year is contributing more than 60 million euro to counteract men’s violence against women and girls, nationally and internationally, and more than 45 million euro to support women’s rights organisations internationally. This work includes work against prostitution and trafficking in human beings for sexual purposes.

Sweden is also a signatory to the Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action Compact that we have been part of developing, in synergy with the Action Coalition. We commit to advance women’s meaningful participation through advocacy and through support to women mediators and we will deliberate on our actions to further accelerate our work at a later point.

To conclude, Sweden is proud to be a part of the Generation Equality initiative.

No peace, sustainable development, or economic growth can be achieved if we disregard half of the world’s population. Let this generation be a gender equal generation!

Thank you.