The definitive guide to equality in Sweden

Sweden, the World's Most Equal Country®, where the women drive the buses and the men drive the baby buggies. Or is it? When it comes to the number of women on boards of directors, Sweden is way down the European pecking order and an increasingly vociferous feminist movement suggests that all is not as it should be in the land of equality. Browse through our collected articles below.

Men at 40 have highest incomes in Sweden: study

Forty-year-old men are the top earners in Sweden, new statistics show. READ »

Women only gym zones 'not discriminatory'

Women only gym zones 'not discriminatory'

Sweden's Equal Opportunities Ombudsman has ruled against a man from Malmö who disputed the right of a local gym to reserve a section for women only. READ » | DISCUSS (26 POSTS) »

Social Democrats praise government equality record

The Swedish government has received plaudits from the opposition Social Democrats over new figures which show that state appointments are in line with Sweden's gender and ethnic diversity. READ »

Boys blocked from bearing 'girls-only' Lucia crown

Boys blocked from bearing 'girls-only' Lucia crown

While generally supportive of equality between the sexes, Swedes still resist tampering with the Lucia holiday tradition which stipulates only girls should bear a candle-lit crown on December 13th. READ »

Swedish sport 'ignoring gender equality laws'

Athletics in Sweden fail to live up to demands set by the country’s laws on gender equality, according to an investigation by the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman. READ »

Study: Swedish men sensitive and lazy

While Swedish men are more willing to accept their role in raising children than men in other parts of Europe, they can't seem to be bothered to do much about it, according to a new study. READ »

Swedish women's pensions lower than men's

Yet another Swedish report proves that Swedish women draw the short straw when it comes to pensions. READ »

Opening a window on the Queer world

Opening a window on the Queer world

A new exhibition of 'queer' art provides a perfect prelude to this year's Europride festival, writes David Bartal. READ »

Photo: ktsdesign & Radu Razvan

Inequality thrives in Stockholm's embassy world

Stockholm's diplomatic community is shot through with gender inequality, according to an analysis of official figures carried out by The Local. READ »

Ericsson ordered to raise women's salaries

Over 100 female employees at Ericsson have been given pay raises after Sweden’s Equal Opportunities Ombudsman (JämO) ruled that the women were paid worse than men. READ »

Female pedestrians get road sign recognition

Sweden's government has paved the way for the development of road signs at pedestrian crossings that portray women rather than just men. READ »

'Jail men who pay for sex'

People convicted of paying for sex should be awarded prison sentences, according to the Social Democrats' new equality spokesman. READ »

Swedish dads steer clear of paternity leave

Swedish dads steer clear of paternity leave

Swedish fathers enjoy one of the most generous paternity leave policies in the world but few dads take advantage of the opportunity, writes AFP's Sebastien Buffet. READ »

Sahlin pushes for more paternity leave

Sahlin pushes for more paternity leave

Social Democrat leader Mona Sahlin has said she is ready to fight to ensure that dads spend more time with their kids. READ »

Photo: Erika Lid,

Papers push back on papa payments

David Landes looks at press reaction to the Moderate Party's suggestion of additional incentives designed to ease the ability of fathers to stay home and care for their children. READ »

Moderates want more dads at home

Moderates want more dads at home

The Moderate Party wants to reward families in which fathers choose to spend more time with their children. READ »

'Witch burning' causes women shelter outrage

'Witch burning' causes women shelter outrage

Women's shelters in southern Sweden have expressed dismay over a band's plan to symbolically burn a witch during the country's Eurovision heats. READ »

Women priests overtake men

Women priests overtake men

Elisabeth Djurle and Margit Sahlin were the first women to be ordained as priests in the Church of Sweden. Now more than one in three parish priests is female. READ »

Female road sign rejected

A local authority which wants to erect road signs featuring female characters in the interests of gender equality has had its initiative vetoed by national authorities. READ »

Moderates want more top women

Half of the top-placed candidates for Sweden's ruling Moderate Party will be women when the party contests the 2009 European Parliament elections. READ »

Fatherhood boosts men's careers

Fatherhood boosts men's careers

Men's careers blossom when they become fathers. The same cannot be said for mothers, a new study has found. READ »

Female equality ombudsman gets lower pay

Sweden's new Equal Opportunities Ombudsman, who is a woman, is to receive a considerably lower salary than her predecessor, who is a man. READ »

Women ignored in King's honours

Sweden's royal honours system has been labelled male-dominated and unrepresentative of society. The king's finest gold medal has only been awarded to three women - compared to 33 men - since he began dishing it out in 1973. READ »

Underwear campaign bottoms out in Sweden

Underwear campaign bottoms out in Sweden

An underwear company's campaign to find 'the world's most beautiful bum' has provoked a hostile reaction in Sweden. But is the search for the perfect bottom a "porn trap" for young girls or a bit of harmless fun for men and women alike? READ »

Swedish women opening more new firms

The number of companies being started by women increased by five percent in 2006. Meanwhile, the number of new firms with men at the helm shrunk by two percent. READ »

Few women employed in top state jobs

Women have been underrepresented in top level management position in the state sector since the new government came to power last year. 'Not satisfactory', says Mats Odell, who indicates that the government intends to rectify the situation in the future READ »

Moderate women demand more top posts

Sweden's Moderate Party has too few women in its upper echelons, according to female members who have demanded 40 percent of the top positions in the party by 2010. The current situation is 'appalling', according to MP Magdalena Andersson. READ »

Widespread ethnic discrimination in Stockholm bars

People with dark skin are routinely denied entry to bars and nightclubs in Stockholm, a police investigation has shown. READ » | DISCUSS (69 POSTS) »

Wage gap narrows between the sexes

The wage gap between men and women in Sweden is getting smaller, according to new statistics. Women working for central and local government have the best deal, while women in the private sector earn just 90 percent of men's wages. READ »

Swedish CEOs worst paid in Europe

A new study has shown that CEOs for major Swedish companies are paid less than their European peers. The same is true of board members for large Swedish firms. READ »

Swedish church 'discriminates against women'

The Church of Sweden is to be investigated by equality chiefs, who suspect it of sex discrimination, despite it having ordained women since 1958. READ »

UN urges Sweden to improve protection of women

A new United Nations report points to a number of shortcomings in how Sweden tackles violence against women. Local councils especially have much room for improvement. READ »

'No gender quotas in theatres'

Culture minister Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth has disappointed many in the world of Swedish drama by her opposition to compulsory gender quotas for theatrical productions. READ »

Sweden has world's second-most gender-equal parliament

With 47.3 percent of seats in the Swedish parliament held by women, the country is a bastion of political gender equality - topped only by Rwanda. READ »

Moderates promise more female candidates

Sweden's Moderate Party may have achieved its best result in modern times in last year's general election, but a post-election analysis has shown that far fewer women than men voted for the party. READ »

Swedish women to overtake 'stupid' men

Swedish men are lonelier, fatter and less intelligent than their female counterparts. In twenty years women will dominate society, says expert (who is a man). READ »

Reinfeldt blocks gender quotas for top jobs

The government is to retract the previous administration's goal of ensuring that 50 per cent of all top management jobs in state bodies go to women. READ »

Government invests in female entrepreneurship

The government plans to invest 100 million kronor in strengthening women's entrepreneurship. The proportion of female entrepeneurs is currently low in comparison to other EU countries. READ »

Students appeal against positive discrimination

Two Swedish women who wanted to study law at Uppsala University had their applications rejected in favour of immigrant students with lower grades. Now the Supreme Court will decide whether the university acted unlawfully. READ »

Car parks "should reserve spaces for women"

A Swedish MP is calling for women-only spaces near the entrances of car parks in a bid to improve safety. Rumours that they will also be 50% wider have not been confirmed. READ »

Man-free party backed by Swedish equality body

A man who tried to talk his way into a Miss Gay 2006 event in Stockholm in the summer has had his appeal to Sweden's equality ombudsman rejected. He apparently missed the point of equality. READ »

Women still earn less than men

Swedish women still earn less money than men for doing the same job - and the situation has not improved in 14 years. "We're still a gender-biased society," says Liberal MP Birgitta Ohlsson. READ »

New Swedish parliament 'most gender balanced ever'

Women will be better represented in the new Swedish parliament than at any point in history, strengthening Sweden's position as one of the countries with the best female representation. READ »

Teachers 'must handle homophobia better'

Teachers must improve the way they teach pupils about homosexuality, and do more to prevent homophobia. Half of teachers say they hear anti-gay language. READ » | DISCUSS (4 POSTS) »

Feminist "was entitled to sick pay"

A founding member of the Feminist Initiative who claimed sick pay while working for the party was entitled to do so, a court has ruled. READ »

Women filtered out by Swedish recruiters

A tip for women looking for jobs in Sweden: you will have a considerably better chance of reaching the interview stage if you conceal your name and gender. READ »

Most sex discrimination reported by men

Special rates for women in hairdressers and taxis, different age limits for men and women in bars - now it's men's turn to rise up against the tyranny of gender oppression. READ »

Immigrants absent on state firms' boards

The number of women on the boards of Sweden's state-owned companies is increasing, but immigrants are still almost entirely unrepresented, a new survey shows. READ »

Sweden's military shoots down macho image

New recruits in the Swedish Armed Forces can leave their testosterone at the door: what matters these days is gender equality and language ability, according to a new strategy document. READ »

Labour Board rejects female committee nominees

The Swedish Labour Board and the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise are bickering over the latter's nomination of three women to an advisory committee. Discrimination, cries the Labour Board. READ »

Men dominate on Swedish leader pages

Equality in the workplace may be a hot political issue in Sweden - but there's a distinct lack of it among the country's key opinion-formers. Around 80% of the leader writers in the Swedish daily press are men, a survey reveals. READ »

Sweden must boycott World Cup - equality chief

The World Cup in Germany this summer will promote prostitution and human trafficking. So says equality ombudsman Claes Borgström, who has called for Sweden to boycott the competition. READ »

Pay and violence head FI manifesto

The gender pay gap and male violence are the big issues in the Feminist Initiative's election manifesto. Companies with discriminatory pay practices should have their registrations withdrawn and councils should be obliged to provide women's shelters. READ »

Equality minister: Sweden is uncivilised

By many measures Sweden is the most gender-equal country in the world. But according to equality minister Jens Orback, the place is uncivilised. READ »

Sweden plans equality agency

Over 40% of Sweden's MPs are women, as are half the cabinet members, and more than 80% of women of working age hold down jobs. But that's not good enough, says the government. READ »

Globalisation to hit Swedish women

Men in Sweden have so far been the losers as industrial jobs move to cheaper countries. But as the service sector sees the possibility of cost savings, globalisation is soon about to affect Swedish women. READ »

"Promise wage equality" - SD youth leader

The leader of the Social Democrats' youth wing says her party should promise to eradicate wage differences between the sexes by 2010. Ministers "need to wake up," says Anna Sjödin. READ »

Women becoming rare in boardrooms

The resignation of the managing director of investment firm Carnegie means that only five Swedish listed companies are led by women. READ »

Women less likely to become professors in Sweden

A man who is doing a doctorate in Sweden is twice as likely to become a professor as a woman taking the same degree, according to a report from the National Agency for Higher Education. Hidden discrimination, says the author of the report. READ »

More men complain of sex discrimination

Different age restrictions for men and women in bars, different prices for dating services and haircuts - now men are wising up to their rights and fighting for equality. READ »

Saudi Arabia lifts ban on women at Sweden match

Saudi Arabia has backed down on barring women from attending an international football match with Zlatan and co in Riyadh this week after its decision caused uproar across Sweden. READ »

Strokes strike stressed Swedish women

The incidence of strokes among Swedish women rose by a third during the 90s, a new study has shown. Work-related stress could be the reason, as could women's tendency "to adopt men's lifestyle habits". READ »

Ikea founder calls for more women

"Women are the ones who decide almost everything in the home," says Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad. That's why the company needs more of them in management positions, he argues in a documentary to be shown on Tuesday. READ »

Gender professor cleared of dishonesty

Claims made by academic Eva Lundgren - that ritual Satanist baby murders take place in Sweden and that half of all Swedish women have been subjected to violence by men - were not dishonest, says an inquiry. Just plain wrong. READ »

More women rising through Swedish companies

Proposals of board gender quotas are dismissed as a report claims that more women than ever are breaking through the "glass ceiling". It's just a question of educational and career choices, say the authors. READ »

Swedish Church approves gay blessings

Following a resounding yes-vote by the Church Assembly, the highest body of authority in the Swedish Church, gay couples will be able to have their partnerships blessed in the country's churches. READ »

Boy reports Gothenburg council for discrimination

Gothenburg council creates a discount card to encourage girls to do more sports and lesiure activities - only to be reported for gender discrimination by a 14 year old boy who was refused a card. To be filed under 'Only in Sweden'. READ »

Police "take women's crime reports less seriously"

When Swedish men report an incident to the police, it is more likely to be taken forward by a prosecutor than a report made by a woman. And crime reports from immigrant women are taken the least seriously. READ »

Rosenberg quits Feminist Initiative

After weeks of media pressure, hate mail and threats, Tiina Rosenberg, who co-founded Sweden's feminist party, couldn't stand the heat - so she's getting out of the kitchen. READ »

Six hour work day does not work

Sweden's feminist and left parties are pushing for a six hour work day. But one of the pioneers of the policy, Kiruna council, is scrapping it after 16 years saying that it does not improve workers' health. READ »

Feminist professor accused of plagiarism

Leading feminist politician and academic, Tiina Rosenberg, has been accused of plagiarism. Political science researcher, Johan Tralau, believes that gender politics has been put before academic rigour. READ »

Swedish church says yes to gay blessings

Gay church weddings come one step closer, as an influential church organ says that same-sex couples can have their partnerships blessed in churches. A step in the right direction, say gay campaigners. READ »

Left Party seizes the Feminist Initiative

Sweden's Left Party proposes a Ministry for Equality, a new agency for equality issues, company board quotas and gender-balanced state funding of associations. Just like the country's feminist party, FI. READ »

Men still earning more than women

The difference in salaries between men and women remains, according to equality-related supplements in this year's budget. READ »

Volvo discriminated against short woman

A Swedish labour court rules that Volvo Cars was guilty of gender discrimination when the car maker rejected several job applications from a woman because she was too short. READ »

Feminist party loses another founder

To lose one founder is understandable. To lose two is worrying. But to lose three - amid much mudslinging - in as many weeks is a PR disaster for Sweden's Feminist Initiative. READ »

Feminists call for abolition of marriage

Couples are so passé. Sweden's Feminist Initiative wants to replace marriage and gay partnerships with a cohabitation law that applies to more than two people. A man with eight wives is not the target, says founder Tiina Rosenberg. READ »

Half of Swedish police trainees are women

As the autumn term at the Swedish Police Academy begins, the girls in blue have achieved equality. And on one course, they even outnumber the boys. READ »

"Give people in suburbs job preference"

People who live in segregated areas should be preferred over other job applicants. That's the conclusion of a government investigator, who says that discrimination against immigrants is leading to a "them and us" society. READ »

Government equality unit slammed for inequality

Only 3 out of 28 staff in the unit for coordinating equality policies are men. That's because men do not have the relevant competence for dealing with equality issues, says Equality Minister Jens Orback, who is a man. READ »

Feminist party founder quits

One of the founders of Sweden's Feminist Initiative has quit - before it even becomes a fully-operational political party. There were difficulties in working together, says Ebba Witt-Brattström. READ »

"Loan a lesbian" idea to promote tolerance

Visitors to Malmö Library can now take out a real live person instead of a book. An imam, a homosexual and a journalist are among those on offer to those wanting to challenge their own prejudices. READ »

Sweden's feminists want a man

The Feminist Initiative, the focal point of Sweden's feminist movement and soon-to-be-political party, unveils a secret weapon for the next election: a man. READ »

Record number of women in Swedish prisons

This is one step towards equality that Sweden won't be boasting about: in the last five years the number of women in prison has increased by 50%. Tougher punishment for drugs offences is behind the rise, say criminologists. READ »

Feminists seize Left Party ground

A six hour working day, forced paternity leave - just two of the ideas proposed by Sweden's fledgling feminist party, the Feminist Initiative. The trouble is, it all sounds very familiar to the Left Party... READ »

Swedish equality policies "do not go far enough"

The Swedish government's equality policies have failed. That's the conclusion of an independent inquiry, which recommends a massive tax cut for single mothers, a zero-tolerance approach to violence against women - and a new government agency to oversee it all. READ »

Controversial women's shelter chairwoman resigns

Ireen von Wachenfeldt, chairwoman of ROKS and famed for her "men are animals" outburst has finally called it a day and resigned. The organisation can now get on with its work in peace and quiet, she says. READ »

High profile laws come into force

1 July means a host of new laws come into force in Sweden. After all the talk, it now really is illegal for private individuals to download music from the internet and for your local salon to charge Mrs Svensson more than Mr Svensson for a haircut. READ »

Swedish equality makes men violent ? ex-minister

Increased sex equality leads to violence against women. That's the view of Margareta Winberg, quoted in a Brazilian paper that cites feminist Eva Lundgren's claim that 40 percent of Swedish women have been hit by men. READ »

Women "don't face wage discrimination"

The difference between women and men's wages is not down to discrimination, but due to the different jobs they choose. That's according to a new report by Sweden's leading business interest organisation. READ »

Sex will sell women's football - Swedish supremo

In a most un-Swedish pronouncement, Lennart Johansson, the 75 year old head of European football, says that if the women's game is to take off it needs to make more of the "sweaty, lovely looking girls" in sponsorship and promotion. READ »

Porn-free hotels draw in more Swedes

Hotel guests who want to be sure not to stumble over porn on their bedroom television can now choose a 'porn-free' establishment from a catalogue released this week. READ »

Swedish company boards "could face sex quotas"

Sweden may be The Most Equal Country in The World® but the higher up the corporate ladder women climb, the more slippery it becomes. Now Justice Minister Thomas Bodström says men's dominance of business is "unnacceptable". READ »

Feminists in brawl outside Stockholm sex club

A violent clash outside a Stockholm sex club between feminist protestors and the club's staff and clients leaves several people injured and leads to 24 arrests. READ »

Swedish teenagers in wet t-shirt row

Teenage girls got up on stage at a bar in Stockholm in g-strings and t-shirts, as organisers proceeded to drench them in water. Offensive, says one girl who was there. All in good fun – and alcohol-free – say the bar owners. READ »

Gays "treated insensitively" by health service

Gay people face prejudice when they come into contact with the Swedish health service, a new report suggests. The system assumes that everyone is heterosexual, it is argued. READ »

New dads ?should get a month off?

Fathers of new-born babies should be allowed to spend the first month of their child's life at home. The government's investigator says that his plan will help families bond. READ »

Lesbian kiss costs restaurant 50,000 kronor

Two years ago a Stockholm restaurant owner threw out a lesbian couple for kissing and cuddling at a table. On Monday a court ruled that he had broken Sweden's ever-tightening discrimination laws and forced him to cough up compensation. READ »

Miss Sweden cancelled after "feminist harassment"

In the blue corner, it's the bikini king himself, Panos Papadopoulos! And in the pink corner, it's Sweden's feisty feminists! And the feminists land the first blow, forcing the bikini king to cancel this year's Miss Sweden pageant. READ »

Stricter rules proposed on Swedish parental leave

Swedish parents enjoy one of the world's most generous systems for parental leave, but probably not for much longer: the government's investigator wants to introduce stricter rules. READ »

Feminist party founder accused of benefits fraud

Feminists could clinch it for the Right
After a triumphant launch on Monday, Sweden's new femininist party, Feminist Initiative, has hit its first snag. For the last five years one of its founders and most active participants has been claiming sickness benefit for being "burnt out". READ »

No more hotel porn for Swedish government officials

Swedish civil servants and politicians will no longer be able to stay at hotels that offer pornographic channels as a government agency blacklists accommodation with x-rated viewing options. READ »

Schyman launches "Feminist Initiative"

Amidst much fanfare, Gudrun Schyman finally launches her feminist party "Feministiskt initiativ" at a press conference in parliament. There was no official leader, no manifesto and it isn't really a proper party yet, but nobody seemed to care. READ »

Are women the future of Swedish politics and business?

Sweden's media was packed with coverage of International Women's Day, with news of a feminist party, women's networks, female business leaders and so on. But women are still under-represented in councils, parliament and boardrooms. Can this ever change? READ »

Feminist party "could undermine government"

International Women's Day brings intensified rumours of a new feminist party - much to the dismay of Sweden's social democrats, whose party secretary Marita Ulvskog marked the occasion by launching a new feminist network. Plus: what kind of feminist are you? READ »

Men on top in Swedish business

According to a report out today by Swedish industry watchdog Svensk Näringsliv, the skills of many competent and experienced Swedish women are going to waste. READ »

Lesbian couples to get right to insemination

Reports from Swedish Radio suggest that lesbian couples will be put on the same footing as heterosexual couples regarding the right to insemination and test tube fertilisation. READ »

"Equality bonus" for parents who share parental leave

Last year Sweden's fathers only took 18% of the parental leave they were entitled to. That's not good enough for the government, which is now considering introducing financial incentives to lure dads away from the workplace. READ »

Nine out of ten women ?lose out by working?

There’s little incentive for Swedish women to work, according to a new report. When lunch and travel costs are deducted, most working women would have been better off staying at home on sick leave. READ »

"Thousands blacklisted" in Malmö property scandal

'Black with a French accent', 'Bosnian', 'has a brother who's a real troublemaker', 'has been beaten by her husband' - just some of the reasons why Malmö property company MKB has allegedly stopped thousands of tenants from hiring an apartment. READ »

Child benefit "discriminates against fathers"

In another step towards Sweden becoming the superpower of gender equality, the Minister for Social Affairs says fathers who hold the baby should hold the child benefit book too. READ »

Why is the divorce rate so high in Sweden?

Lovers of freedom - or freedom of lovers? The degradation of family values caused by a misguided obsession with equality and lack of moral awareness - or something in the water? Answers please - a reader needs to know. READ »

One in five Swedes could vote for feminist party

A new poll adds credibility to rumours that Left Party black sheep Gudrun Schyman is planning her own feminist party. And then another unpaid bill undermines that credibility. READ »

Why is Sweden so hot on gender equality?

True enlightenment or a veil hiding old-fashioned values? The way forward or stuck in the past? Answers please. READ »

Media glee as Schyman quits Left Party

Why is Sweden so hot on gender equality?
First she stopped drinking, then she stopped reporting her taxes correctly. Then she stepped down as leader of the Left party, and now she's leaving the party entirely. Every time Gudrun Schyman calls it quits, the headlines just get bigger. READ »

Swedish boys "more intolerant than girls"

What are little girls made of? Sugar and spice and all things nice! What are little boys made of? Homophobia and racism, apparently. READ »

The great equality debate - whither Swedish women?

Female politicians threatened with violence and too few women in the boardroom. Girls are doing better at school - but even that's just a trap, apparently. No wonder more Swedish women want to get their kit off for the camera. READ »


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