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Sweden - Combined sixth and seventh periodic report of States parties [2006] UNCEDAWSPR 12; CEDAW/C/SWE/7 (14 September 2006)

  • Part I

  • Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination

    against Women

    Consideration of reports submitted by States

    parties under article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination

    against Women

    Combined sixth and seventh periodic report of States parties


    * The present report is being issued without formal editing.

    For the initial report submitted by the Government of Sweden see CEDAW/C/5/Add.8 which was considered by the Committee at its second session. For the second periodic report see CEDAW/C/13/Add.6 which was considered by the Committee at its seventh session. For the third periodic report see CEDAW/C/18/Add.1 which was considered by the Committee at its twelfth session. For the combined fourth periodic report see CEDAW/C/SWE/4 which was considered by the Committee at its twenty-fifth session. For the fifth periodic report see CEDAW/C/SWE/5 which was considered by the Committee at its twenty-fifth session.

    Sixth and seventh periodic reports of the Swedish

    Government on measures taken to give effect to the

    Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of

    Discrimination against Women


    Part I
    Article 1
    Article 2 — Obligation to eliminate discrimination against women
    Article 3 — Women’s enjoyment of human rights
    Article 4 — Measures to accelerate equality between women and men
    Article 5 — Stereotyped patterns
    Article 6 — Trafficking in women and exploitation of women in prostitution
    Part II
    Article 7 — Eliminating discrimination against women in the country’s political
    and public life
    Article 8 — International representation and international participation
    Article 9 — Citizenship
    Article 10 — Education
    Article 11 — Labour market and working life
    Article 12 — Health and medical services
    Article 13 — Eliminating discrimination against women in other areas of the economic
    and social life of the community
    Article 14 — Women in rural areas
    Article 15 — Equality before the law
    Article 16 — Eliminating discrimination in marriage and family relations
    Appendix 1
    Global development cooperation
    Appendix 2
    Sweden’s work to implement United Nations Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security


    1. This report comprises Sweden’s sixth and seventh periodic reports to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women. The following report takes into account the comments and recommendations received by Sweden from the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women in its review of Sweden’s fourth and fifth reports at the Committee’s 25th session on 1 July 2001.

    2. The Government’s objective is to draw attention to areas in which women and girls lack sufficient opportunities to enjoy human rights, in Sweden and in other countries. The promotion of women’s and girls’ enjoyment of human rights is a central part of the Government’s work in Sweden and in international arenas.

    3. In its work on women’s and girls’ enjoyment of human rights, the Government gives priority to issues related to violence against women as well as to the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls, including the right to make decisions on sexuality and childbirth.

    4. The objective of Swedish gender equality policy is that women and men, girls and boys, are to have equal opportunities and equal rights. If women and men are to enjoy human rights on equal terms, it is necessary to be aware of and work against power structures that allocate a superior position to men and a subordinate position to women. Special measures for women and girls are also necessary in pursuit of gender equality and in the work to eliminate discrimination of women and girls.

    5. In a 2002 report to the Riksdag (Swedish Parliament) on national gender equality policy (Govt Communication 2002/03:140) the Government gave an account of gender equality policy measures undertaken since 1999 and presented a national action plan for gender equality for the 2002–2006 electoral period. Apart from the work of gender mainstreaming, the plan highlighted the following areas of particular focus:

    ­ representation; equal access to positions of power and influence,

    ­ equal pay for equal work and work of equal value,

    ­ violence committed by men against women, prostitution and trafficking in women for purposes of sexual exploitation,

    ­ men and gender equality, and

    ­ sexualisation of the public sphere.

    6. In February 2004, the Government appointed a commission of inquiry to carry out a review of the objectives, orientation, organisation and efficiency of gender equality policy. The commission submitted its report (SOU 2005:66) in August 2005.

    7. In March 2006, the Government submitted a Bill to the Riksdag (Government Bill 2005/06:155). The Bill, which proposes new objectives for gender equality policy, was passed by the Riksdag on 16 May 2006. Its overarching objective is that women and men are to have equal power to shape society and their own lives. The Bill highlights the problem of violence against women, particularly men’s violence against women. The following subsidiary objectives have been set:

    ­ An equal distribution of power and influence between women and men. Women and men shall have the same rights and opportunities to be active citizens and to shape the conditions of decision-making.

    ­ Economic equality between women and men. Women and men shall have the same opportunities and conditions with regard to education and paid work that provide lifelong economic independence.

    ­ An equal distribution of unpaid care and household work. Women and men shall take the same responsibility for household work and have the same opportunities to give and receive care on equal terms.

    ­ Men’s violence against women shall come to an end. Women and men, girls and boys, shall have equal rights and opportunities to physical integrity.

    8. The Bill confirms that gender mainstreaming remains the strategy for achieving the gender equality objectives. Additionally, the Government sets out its intention to establish a public agency with responsibility for contributing to the development of an effective gender equality policy. The Government also declares its intention to strengthen gender equality work at local and regional level. The Government will study gender equality between different groups in society as part of its follow-up of the subsidiary objectives of the Bill.

    9. The Bill states that the overarching objective of the Government’s gender equality policy applies to everyone, in different situations and stages of life. It applies regardless of, for example, age, ethnic origin, disability or where people live in the country. There are to be no systematic differences in women’s and men’s opportunities to shape society and their own lives. Nor are there to be systematic differences in the conditions in which girls and boys grow up, either with regard to their share of society’s resources or their opportunities to grow up free from the limitations imposed by gender stereotypes.

    10. Sweden ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women on 23 April 2003. Ratification has not led to any measures so far. No complaints have been lodged.

    Gender mainstreaming

    11. In April 2004, the Government adopted a special plan for gender mainstreaming at the Government Offices. The plan runs until 31 December 2009.

    12. Under this strategy, each Minister is responsible for gender equality in his or her policy area and the Minister for Gender Equality is responsible for ensuring that progress is made and for following up measures at an overarching level. All Ministries have created organisations and drawn up plans for this work.

    13. The work will be followed up annually using qualitative and quantitative indicators. Two interim evaluations will be carried out, in addition to a final evaluation in 2010.

    14. As a first step in the work, about seventy analyses were carried out in 2004 and 2005 in the 47 policy areas. The main outcome of these analyses was new objectives and indicators for the public agencies. The work includes education and training measures.

    15. In 2006, the work will focus on the budget process, the directives that control Government commissions of inquiry (their terms of reference) and the governance of public agencies.

    16. In 2002, a project was launched to work on gender mainstreaming of the central government budget process. The work of the project included methodology development and identification of training needs. This work has now been integrated into regular routines.

    Dissemination of information on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women

    17. In late 2004, the Government initiated an information project on the United Nations work to improve the position of women in society. The project ended with a national gender equality conference in November 2005 in Örebro. The aim of the conference, which was co-arranged with the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, was to raise knowledge of the United Nations work to improve women’s enjoyment of human rights and improve the position of women in society, and to stimulate thinking on how global agreements can be put into practice at local level. Within the framework of this information project, non-governmental organizations have also been provided with information and training on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the action plan from the 1995 Beijing Conference on Women.

    18. The Government has allocated funds to a public information campaign on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. The campaign is being run by the Workers’ Educational Association together with the Swedish United Nations Development Fund for Women committee, and will take place during 2006–2007.

    19. The Government has contributed funds to a project on CEDAW in practice, the purpose of which is to write and distribute a handbook on the Convention. The work is being conducted by the “CEDAW network”, which is composed of a number of NGOs. The CEDAW network has also arranged seminars and exhibitions on the Convention in several places around the country.

    Part I

    Article 1

    20. Please refer to this and previous reports.

    Article 2 — Obligation to eliminate discrimination against women

    Articles 2.a-2.b Legislative measures

    21. For an introductory account of Swedish legislative measures intended to eliminate discrimination on grounds of gender, please see Article 2 of Sweden’s second report, and refer also to other Swedish reports.

    22. Discrimination on grounds of gender, in addition to being the subject of provisions in the Swedish Constitution, is primarily dealt with in the Equal Opportunities Act (1991:433), the Prohibition of Discrimination Act (2003:307), the Equal Treatment of Students at Universities Act (2001:1286) and the Act Prohibiting Discrimination and Other Degrading Treatment of Children and School Students (2006:67). The Equal Opportunities Act has been amended since the previous report. An account of these amendments is provided under Article 2.b. The work of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman is described in Article 2.c.

    The Equal Opportunities Act (1991:433)

    23. Since completion of the previous report, the Act has been amended on two occasions: 1 January 2001 and 1 July 2005. These amendments mean that the European Court’s “burden of proof directive” (Council Directive 97/80/EC) has been fully implemented in the provisions of the Equal Opportunities Act.

    24. The changes that became law on 1 January 2001 primarily concern two aspects: the prohibition of discrimination and regulations on inter alia wage surveys. These amendments were described in the previous report but some supplementary information is provided below.

    25. A definition of the term “work of equal value” has been introduced into the Act.

    26. Each employer must now carry out a survey and analysis of wage disparities between women and men, and this includes an obligation to assess whether any existing wage disparities are directly or indirectly related to gender. The assessment is to particularly focus on women and men who carry out work that can be regarded as being of equal value. The assessment must furthermore include groups of employees who carry out work that is – or is traditionally regarded as – female-dominated and groups of employees who carry out work that is to be regarded as being of equal value to such work but is not – or is not traditionally regarded as – female-dominated.

    27. The written action plan for equal pay that the employer must produce each year is to include information on what wage adjustments and other measures need to be undertaken to achieve equal pay for equal work and for work of equal value. The measures are to be carried out as soon as possible, and within three years at the most. A report and evaluation of how the planned measures were carried out is to be included in the following year’s action plan.

    28. From 1 January 2001, employee organisations with which the employer has collective agreements are entitled to the information they require to be able to collaborate with the employer during the survey and analysis of the wage system and wage disparities, and in drawing up action plans for equal wages.

    29. On 1 July 2005, the Equal Opportunities Act was extended and tightened up to cover those who apply for work experience or are on work experience. This means that the rules on prohibition of discrimination, harassment, invalidity of contracts and damages also apply in such cases. An individual who carries out work at a workplace without an employment contract but as hired or borrowed labour is to be regarded as an employee. The workplace where work experience takes place is regarded as the employer. These regulations primarily apply to students who apply for, or complete, periods of work experience as part of their educational programme.

    30. Over and above this, it is also against the law to order an employee to commit discrimination. If such an instruction is obeyed, the result is that someone is unfairly treated. If the instruction is not obeyed, it has no consequences in that no effect results, but an instruction that is not obeyed can still mean that a person (or persons) is pointed out as a prospective “victim” of discrimination. This finger-pointing can in itself attract attention and lead to gossip, and such an event can in itself also constitute discrimination. If an employer gives an employee an order to discriminate which leads to unfair treatment, the employer is bound by the employee’s discriminatory behaviour, and the employer can then be sued for damages.

    31. Exceptions from the prohibition against discrimination have also been limited. The previous exception “for ideological or other special interest” has been repealed. The new exception applies to decisions on employment, promotion and training required for promotion, and is expressed as follows: “where a person of a specific sex is required due to the nature of the work or of the circumstances in which it is performed”. The exception is extremely narrow and the employer must have strong reasons for citing it. The employer’s arguments are required to meet high standards and it must be clear that the nature of the work or the circumstances in which it is performed were the determining factor.

    The Prohibition against Discrimination Act (2003:307)

    32. In parallel with the Equal Opportunities Act, a further act has been passed banning inter alia discrimination on grounds of gender. It is known as the Prohibition against Discrimination Act. The Act has covered certain types of discrimination on grounds of gender since 2005. Discrimination under this Act refers to direct and indirect discrimination, as well as harassment and instructions to discriminate. Under this Act, discrimination on grounds of gender is prohibited:

    ­ in labour market policy activities, i.e. private and public job placement services;

    ­ during the start-up or running of a business;

    ­ in the exercise of a profession;

    ­ in membership and/or participation in an employees’ organisation, employers’ organisation or occupational organisation, or in benefits that such an organisation provides to its members;

    ­ in the professional provision of goods, services and housing.

    33. The background to this extended protection is European Union directives in the area and the fact that protection from discrimination on grounds of gender is to be as strong as protection from discrimination on grounds of ethnic origin, religion or other belief, sexual orientation or disability.

    34. Someone who discriminates or subjects another to reprisals is to pay damages for the violation that the discrimination involves. An employer is liable for damages for an employee’s actions towards third parties.

    The Equal Treatment of Students at Universities Act (2001:1286)

    35. The “Equal Treatment Act”, passed on 1 March 2002, is designed to promote equal rights for students and applicants at universities and other higher education institutions and to combat discrimination on grounds of gender, ethnic origin, religion or other belief, sexual orientation or disability.

    36. The higher education institution must conduct goal-oriented work to actively promote the equal rights of students. Each year, the institution must draw up a plan of necessary measures, which must include measures to prevent and preclude harassment. The plan must be evaluated annually and work on the plan is to take place in close cooperation with the university’s students and their organisations.

    37. The prohibition against direct or indirect discrimination applies when an institution makes decisions on admission to courses or undertakes another measure that is of importance in admission, for example an entrance examination. The prohibitions also apply when an institution makes a decision on e.g. a change of supervisor or withdrawal of supervisor and other resources in postgraduate education or training grants for postgraduate students. The provisions on prohibition can also apply when an institution undertakes a disciplinary measure such as expelling a student on unfair grounds, or if provocation by a teacher leads to a student’s abandoning his or her studies.

    38. The law also provides protection against harassment. If a higher education institution learns that a student feels that she/he has been subjected to harassment, the incident must be investigated, and the institution must take steps to prevent further harassment where necessary. “Harassment” means measures that violate the integrity of students in their studies and that are associated with ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability or gender or are of a sexual nature.

    39. If the higher education institution is in breach of a prohibition on discrimination or neglects to investigate or take steps regarding harassment, it may be liable for damages.

    The Prohibition of Discrimination and other Degrading Treatment of Children and School Students Act (2006:67)

    40. In a Bill (2005/06:38), the Government presented a proposal for a new act on a prohibition of discrimination and other degrading treatment of children and school students. The Act became law on 1 April 2006 and covers pre-school facilities, school-age childcare, compulsory and upper secondary school and municipal adult education. The Act is designed to promote equal rights for children and school students and to combat discrimination on grounds of sex, ethnic origin, religion or other belief, sexual orientation or disability. The Act is also designed to prevent and forestall other degrading treatment that is not directly attributable to these grounds of discrimination. This means that the new Act covers all forms of degrading treatment, including bullying.

    Article 2.c — Ensuring effective protection of women against discrimination, inter alia through public institutions; the work of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman; supervision

    41. The Equal Opportunities Ombudsman (JämO) exercises supervision of compliance with the above-mentioned Acts, both in their affirmative aspects and in their anti-discriminatory aspects. If an employer does not meet the obligations regarding affirmative measures, JämO can apply to the Equal Opportunities Commission for the imposition of a provisional fine. There is no corresponding route regarding sanctions for a higher education institution or school that does not meet its obligations. The Prohibition of Discrimination Act does not contain any regulations on affirmative measures. If a party is in violation of the prohibition of gender discrimination in the Equal Opportunities Act, action is to be brought in the Labour Court. In the event of breaches of the prohibition against discrimination on grounds of gender in the “Equal Treatment Act” and the Prohibition of Discrimination Act, action must be brought in a court of general jurisdiction.

    Promotion of rights

    42. Since 2001, JämO has been providing ongoing information and training to employers and trade union representatives in Sweden about the new regulations in the Equal Opportunities Act. This training has included measures arranged together with the gender equality experts at county administrative boards around Sweden. Training and information have focused particularly on the new wage survey regulations in the Equal Opportunities Act.

    43. Since 2001, the special project on wages has been part of JämO’s regular operations and JämO can provide its own work evaluation system for equal wages. This is an important supplement to the legislation, because it places the onus on employers to compare work that is of equal value.

    44. On the instructions of the Government, JämO and four other public agencies have taken part in a project to reduce involuntary part-time unemployment. The project will be concluded in 2006.

    45. JämO examines a large number of gender equality plans each year. During the 2001–2004 period, more than a thousand gender equality plans were studied from government agencies, municipalities, county councils, rescue services and private enterprises. About half of the examinations solely concerned wage surveys in private enterprises. JämO also makes ongoing study of gender equality plans in response to reports from employees or trade union representatives.

    46. In 2003, JämO conducted a country-wide information campaign with the objective of informing higher education institutions and students of the contents of the Equal Treatment Act.

    47. During the 2001–2004 period, 575 cases of discrimination were reported to JämO. Cases in the Labour Court have included cases of wage discrimination, discrimination in appointments and gender discrimination in connection with pregnancy.

    Policy on minorities

    48. Sweden’s national minorities are the Sami (who are also an indigenous people), Swedish Finns, Tornedalers, Roma and Jews. Recognised minority languages are all forms of Sami, Finnish, Meänkieli (Tornedal Finnish), all forms of Romany Chib and Yiddish.

    49. Work is ongoing to involve women from the national minorities in decision-making. The objective of minority policy is to protect national minorities, promote their participation in public affairs and decision-making and help keep long-established minority languages alive. Minority policy is to be permeated by a gender equality perspective.

    50. The Government provides financial support to organisations that represent national minorities. One of the aims of this support is to strengthen their influence in the life of the community. To improve the position of women, from 2006 the Government has introduced a requirement making the provision of financial support to organisations conditional on the organisations striving to ensure that women and men have equal shares of power and influence in the organisation.

    51. The Ombudsman against Ethnic Discrimination carried out a special project in 2002 and 2003 to prevent and combat ethnic discrimination of Roma. An assessment was made of possible differences in the discrimination to which Roma men and Roma women, respectively, are subjected. This, however, found no significant differences between men and women with respect to reported discrimination. The assumption that women in traditional Roma dress are more exposed to discrimination is thus not borne out in the reports. There are, however, a large number of unreported cases and in light of judgments that do exist on unlawful discrimination, there is reason to suspect that women and girls in particular risk being subjected to discrimination simply because Roma dress makes them more visible.

    52. A working group of Roma women was created in 2002, which is led by the State Secretary responsible for the policy area. The aim of the working group is to discuss and highlight the situation of Roma women and to strengthen opportunities for exercising influence. Since February 2005, the working group has held a number of regional seminars with and about Roma women, and with municipal civil servants working with Roma issues, to discuss the situation of Roma girls and women in Sweden today with particular reference to employment and education.

    Sami policy

    53. The Government is working to strengthen the position of Sami women in society, including Sami society. This is underlined in the Government’s communication and action plan on gender equality (see Introduction). One aspect of this is to strengthen women’s representation in the Sami Parliament. After the most recent (2005) elections to the Sami Parliament, 32 per cent (10 of 31 members) of the members are women, and 68 per cent are men. This means that women’s representation has grown by seven percentage points since the 2001 elections.

    54. The Government Bill about greater Sami influence (Govt. Bill 2005/2006:86) proposes amendments to both the Reindeer Husbandry Act (1971:437) and the Sami Parliament Act (1992:1433), the purpose of which is to make these laws more gender-neutral. The proposals are expected to become law on 1 July 2006 and 1 January 2007, respectively.

    55. One result of the gender equality programme adopted by the 2004 session of the Sami Parliament is that Sami organisations and associations that receive grants from the Sami Parliament’s Council of Cultural Affairs must submit a gender equality plan from 2006 onwards.

    56. The 2006 appropriation directions to the Sami Parliament contain a clearer requirement to report on the participation of women and men.

    57. One concrete step towards greater gender equality in Sami society is the European Union project on equal terms in Sápmi run by the Swedish Sami Federation and co-financed by the County Administrative Board and the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth. The project is among the first of its kind in the Sami lands (Sápmi) and focuses primarily on building networks and providing training in skills and leadership.

    Disability policy

    58. The Swedish Disability Ombudsman has drawn attention to gender discrimination of disabled women. The Ombudsman’s reports on discrimination cases must show how many cases involve women and men and girls and boys, respectively.

    59. On 1 January 2006 a new public agency was set up to ensure effective short-term and long-term implementation of national disability policy. The agency will also be responsible for overall coordination of disability policy, which means that it will support, stimulate and urge actors at different levels to take the disability policy objectives into account in their activities. The agency is to assist in the work of meeting Sweden’s commitments to protect human rights. The most important tools in this work will be the standards set by the agency and the training and information it provides. Another task for the agency is to follow up gender equality in disability policy and draw attention to disparities in the living conditions of women and men and girls and boys with disabilities.

    Articles 2.d-g

    60. See Sweden’s second report, and other sections under Article 2 in this report.

    Article 3 — Women’s enjoyment of human rights

    61. See also Sweden’s previous reports. Further information on the Government’s work to promote women’s enjoyment of human rights is set out in Appendix 1.

    Work on the national action plan for human rights

    62. The communication A National Action Plan for Human Rights (Government Communication 2001/02:83), implemented in 2002–2004, provided an overview of the Government’s work to achieve the long-term objective of securing full respect for human rights in Sweden. The document contained measures to promote gender equality, and thus women’s enjoyment of human rights. There was special focus on a number of areas including labour market and working life issues, transport and IT, violence against women, education, statistics and research. A follow-up of the first action plan found that practically all of the measures described in the document have been implemented. In autumn 2004, the Government also gave the Secretary-General of the Olof Palme International Center the task of evaluating implementation of the action plan. The Government was given a number of recommendations for its future work, including a recommendation that more knowledge and awareness of human rights needs to be disseminated throughout the public sector and that the next action plan for human rights should be marked by a gender equality perspective.

    63. In March 2006, the Government adopted its second action plan for human rights through the communication A national action plan for human rights 2006–2009 (Government Communication 2005/06:95) and presented it to the Riksdag. The approximately 130 measures announced in the plan will be implemented in 2006–2009. The plan’s general focus is on combating discrimination and it includes measures against gender discrimination. Economic and social rights, including the right to work, are also regarded from the perspective of non-discrimination. One important aspect of the action plan is measures concerning men’s violence against women, violence in the name of honour and human trafficking. The action plan is based on a survey of the human rights situation in Sweden in 2005. The survey is included in the document. The survey and action plan were drafted in consultation with almost 400 actors from the public sector and civil society.

    64. In March 2006, the Government appointed a Delegation for Human Rights in Sweden. The tasks of the Delegation, which will be active until March 2010, include supporting the work to fully implement respect for human rights within government agencies, municipalities and county councils, with the action plan as its platform. The Delegation is also to carry out information and educational measures about human rights, and stimulate public debate on human rights in Sweden. The Delegation is furthermore to provide proposals on how support can continue to be provided for full respect for human rights in Sweden after the Delegation has completed its work.

    The work on violence against women, particularly men’s violence against women

    65. Being subjected to violence can be a serious obstacle to enjoyment of human rights. Gender equality policy includes an overarching responsibility for issues concerning the violence to which women are subjected, or risk being subjected. The measures undertaken since the previous report are described below. Measures to prevent violence in the name of honour are reported in a special section under this Article. Measures to combat trafficking in human beings – particularly women and children – for the purposes of sexual exploitation, and measures to combat prostitution, are reported under Article 6.

    66. The United Nations 1993 Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women is a starting point for the Government in its efforts to prevent this violence.

    67. The Government provides funding on an annual basis to women’s shelters and other organisations working to prevent violence against women, primarily the two national organisations for women’s shelters. The Government also supports crisis centres where men provide assistance to men in crisis. An important task of such centres is to work professionally with men who have problems with aggressive and violent behaviour, using counselling and other methods.

    68. The 2006 Budget Bill presents special funding of SEK 135 million a year for 2006–2008, inter alia to enhance support for women exposed to violence and their children, and to prevent men’s violence against women. The funds are intended for use by women’s shelters, women’s organisations and for a conversion of the National Centre for Battered and Raped Women into a National Knowledge Centre whose work is expected to begin some time during the second half of 2006. In 2006, SEK 81.5 million of these funds will be devoted to work in women’s shelters. The Government stresses the importance of better support to women of foreign origin, disabled women and women with substance abuse problems who are subjected to violence. (See Article 7.c for more information on women’s organisations).

    69. The Government Bill on Violence Against Women (see previous report) raised the issue of the prevalence of violence against women with disabilities, and this was also one of the seven theme areas of the National Council on Violence Against Women during the years 2000–2003 (see Article 6 in the previous report).

    70. During 2003 and 2004, the country’s county administrative boards have allocated funds to municipalities so that they can develop measures to help e.g. women substance abusers who are subjected to violence, and children in families where violence and abuse between adults occurs.

    71. In 2003, the appropriation directions for the county administrative boards instructed them to act to ensure that the social services provide support and protection to women who are exposed to violence or other abuse in their homes. In 2004, the objective was that supervisory work would highlight the support and protection of women exposed to violence or other abuse.

    72. The Government has appointed an inquiry to review the social services’ support to women who are exposed to violence. The inquiry will survey and analyse what support the municipalities provide for women exposed to violence, and their children, and submit proposals for how this support can be strengthened and improved. The inquiry will furthermore particularly take into account support to women substance abusers and disabled women who are subjected to violence and women and girls of foreign origin who are subjected to violence. The findings are to be presented no later than 30 June 2006.


    73. New legislation on sexual crimes came into force on 1 April 2005. The purpose of this legislation is to further strengthen and clarify the absolute right of every individual to personal and sexual integrity and sexual self-determination, and to use various means to highlight and strengthen the protection of children and young people from sexual violation.

    74. The definition of the crime of rape has been extended. More acts are to be judged as rape, inter alia because the requirement of force has been lowered and because the definition of rape has been widened to cover the most serious cases of sexual exploitation. The scope for regarding rape as aggravated rape has been extended to some degree. The provisions also make it clear that the crime is to be regarded as aggravated in cases of rape committed by more than one person.

    75. The provisions of the Act on Restraining Orders were extended on 1 September 2003. The new provisions mean that a restraining order can in some cases be extended to cover larger geographical areas. The restraining order can also apply to a common home where there are special circumstances indicating a clear risk that the person covered by the restraining order will commit a crime against the life, health, freedom or integrity of a cohabiting partner.

    The work of the government authorities

    76. In 2003, the Government appointed an inquiry to follow up and evaluate, from a gender-based power structure perspective, the general instructions and specific assignments given to public agencies in the Government Bill on Violence Against Women (see Article 6 in the previous report). The inquiry reported in its findings (SOU 2004:121) that the agencies have carried out some of their assignments, but others have not been carried out or have been carried out inadequately. Some of the inquiry’s proposals have been dealt with in the Government Bill on new objectives for gender equality policy (see Introduction).

    The police

    77. Within the police force, a number of measures have been implemented including training courses, greater collaboration with social authorities, the health services and NGOs, and organisational change. The aim has been both to improve the force’s capacity to investigate this category of crime and to improve crime prevention work.

    78. In its policy documents for the police, the Government has consistently stressed the importance of special attention being paid to crime-fighting operations focusing on various types of violence against women. One way in which this priority has been put into practice is through the instructions given to the National Police Board that it specially report this area in its annual reports.

    79. In November 2003, the Government charged the National Police Board and the Office of the Prosecutor-General with the task of developing guidelines for the police’s threat and risk assessments in cases involving domestic violence. The results of this assignment were reported in June 2004. These routines and guidelines are to show, for example, how restraining orders are to be followed up, how and what information is to be given to the parties involved and what measures are to be undertaken if the person to be protected by the restraining order reports that a violation of the order has taken place.

    80. The Government’s ambition is that in some cases restraining orders will be able to be combined with electronic monitoring. The National Police Board has therefore been instructed to investigate various technical solutions that could be used for this purpose. The findings are to be presented by 31 December 2006.

    The Swedish Prosecution Authority

    81. The prosecution authorities have devoted substantial resources to combating violence against women for a number of years. Investigations of violent crime and sexual crime committed against women are a high priority for the prosecutors. This has resulted in specialisation, training and development of work methods. Many local public prosecution offices have also taken part in inter-agency projects aiming to raise awareness in the community that men’s violence against women exists and must be combated.

    82. In its appropriation directions to the Swedish Prosecution Authority, the Government has repeatedly stated that crimes of violence against women are a type of crime where operational development is of particular importance, and that the Authority is to report the measures undertaken to fight such crime. The Prosecution Authority’s appropriation directions for the 2006 budget year also contain a requirement to report back on measures to further improve how crime victims are treated by prosecutors; this applies particularly to the victims of sexual crimes.

    83. In 2003, a number of prosecution authorities carried out extensive analyses of what they can do to bring more of these crimes to court. The conclusions of these analyses included that the police’s first-stage measures could be improved, and that the requirement for early involvement of the prosecutor in the preliminary investigation could be more widely applied.

    84. One positive example of operational development is the close cooperation between police domestic violence units and a number of local public prosecution offices to raise the proportion of such cases that are brought to court. This has brought about improved first-stage measures and more prosecutor-led preliminary investigations.

    85. On 24 February 2003, the Office of the Prosecutor-General adopted guidelines and an action plan for crime victim support. These cover issues such as treatment of victims and accessibility. The action plan applied to 2003–2004. Questions of how crime victims are treated have been integrated into training courses on violence and other abuse of women.

    86. In 2004, the National Police Board and the Swedish Prosecution Authority carried out a joint review of investigations into rape cases with the aim of improving the quality of investigations. The findings, which were reported in April 2005, revealed that there were a number of shortcomings, including how questions regarding counsel for the injured party were handled. A number of measures have since been undertaken to improve the quality of criminal investigations and ensure that the rules for counsel for injured parties are followed. Among other things, the National Police Board and the Swedish Prosecution Authority carried out a hearing in 2005 on how rape investigations can be improved. The Development Centre in Gothenburg has been tasked with following up the development work and furthermore taking the initiatives that the report indicates may be necessary. New inspections will take place in 2006.

    87. In November 2005, the Swedish Prosecution Authority carried out an extensive study of how criminal investigations into gross violation of a woman’s integrity are managed. The study has been completed and an inspection report has been submitted (RättsPM 2006:8 Gothenburg Development Centre).

    88. The Swedish Prosecution Authority’s basic training course for prosecutors and its continuation training courses for prosecutors have included a special course on abuse of women since the autumn of 2005.

    The courts

    89. In various contexts, the Government has expressed the importance of greater general awareness of gender equality issues within the court system, for example how women who have been subjected to crimes – such as victims of trafficking in human beings or of rape or other violence – are regarded and treated.

    90. Over the past year, the National Courts Administration has stepped up the amount of training provided on issues concerning violence against women. Special sections on men’s violence against women were included in routine professional development courses for judges in 2003 and 2004. Furthermore, issues of how to treat victims, and gender equality issues in general, are also part of the mandatory training of newly-appointed judges.

    91. A special course on the new legislation on sexual crimes was carried out in 2005, and will continue in 2006. A new course on trafficking in human beings also began in 2005.

    92. Furthermore, in February 2006, the National Courts Administration was tasked by the Government with arranging a special training course to raise judges’ knowledge regarding violence in the name of honour towards girls and young women.

    The National Council for Crime Prevention and the Crime Victim Compensation and
    Support Authority

    93. In 2004, the Government appointed an inquiry into issues regarding the victims of sexual crimes. The findings were reported in November 2005. One of the things the inquiry highlights is possible reasons why sexual assaults are not reported. There are also proposals for measures aimed at raising the propensity to report crimes, and on how the stress on the injured party can be kept to a minimum throughout the judicial process. With regard to the proposals, the National Council for Crime Prevention was tasked in its 2006 appropriation directions with producing, in collaboration with the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman, guidance material for young people that aims at highlighting issues of sexual harassment and attitudes. In its 2006 appropriation directions, the Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority was tasked with producing a national coordination programme for crime victims in the community. The programme is to pay particular attention to sexual crimes. The Authority was also tasked with creating a crime victim portal and establishing a national clearinghouse with special information on sexual crimes. The inquiry’s legislative proposals have been circulated for consultation.

    94. On the instructions of the Government, the Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority carried out a special study of victims of men’s violence against women, which resulted in the report Captured Queen. Men’s violence against women in “equal” Sweden – a prevalence study.

    95. In 2004, the Government commissioned the National Council for Crime Prevention with following up and evaluating the application of the Restraining Orders Act. The assignment is to be reported in March 2007. An interim report produced in July 2005 shows that the number of applications for restraining orders is rising and that the proportion of restraining orders violated has not risen since the previous evaluation in 2003. Around two thirds of all restraining orders issued by prosecutors are complied with.

    The Prison and Probation Service

    96. The Prison and Probation Service is working on providing treatment for men who have been convicted of violence against women. The focus lies on the men, and on what treatment is necessary to prevent them from relapsing into violent behaviour. Research-based and evaluable treatment programmes for men convicted of domestic violence are being produced in cooperation with the United Kingdom Home Office. Great importance is also attached to securing the safety of the victims while the men are incarcerated.

    97. Information about domestic violence is an important and recurring aspect of training courses provided to personnel within the Prison and Probation Service.

    The National Board of Health and Welfare

    98. The National Board of Health and Welfare reports a continued positive development in the support provided by social services to women subjected to violence, but adds that much remains to be done. There is a clear need for more inter-profession collaboration and cross-cutting solutions.

    99. The Government commissioned the National Board of Health and Welfare and the county administrative boards to investigate how many of the country’s municipalities have action plans for their work with women exposed to violence. The findings were reported on 30 October 2005. In summary, it was found that about 70 per cent of the municipalities have action plans. The number has grown steadily in recent years.

    100. Within the framework of the assignment given at the time of the Government Bill on Violence Against Women (see Article 6 of the previous report), the Board has inter alia published information and educational materials on men’s violence against women. Furthermore in 2003, the Board followed up the training assignment given to a number of authorities at the time of the Violence Against Women reform. The follow-up showed that the training has led to concrete measures.

    101. The Board has initiated a cooperation project for public agencies on violence against women that brings together 16 agencies. The Board is responsible for a joint website. The intention is that the agencies will be able to use this website in their work regarding men’s violence against women.

    102. The Board has been commissioned to produce a compilation of effective methods and work procedures used by the social services in their work with women exposed to violence. The intention is to support uniform development throughout the country in this field. The findings are to be presented no later than 30 November 2006.

    103. On the instructions of the Government, in 2005 the Board has provided written information material to the social services and others to be used in their work with people whose personal data is protected. Most of those with protected personal data are women who are threatened by ex-husbands or ex-partners.

    104. In recent years, the Board has supported the development of the family law work of the social services with families in which there is violence and abuse. The work has been summarised in a report.

    105. The Board had primary responsibility for implementation of the national Action Plan to Prevent Female Genital Mutilation, adopted by the Government in June 2003. An international conference has been held with the purpose of exchanging experiences of effective methods of preventing the genital mutilation of girls and women. The Board of Health and Welfare, the National Police Board and the Prosecution Authority jointly arranged four regional conferences in the autumn of 2005 on preventive and supportive work regarding female genital mutilation, on the instructions of the Government. In December 2003, the Board was tasked with improving the work of preventing genital mutilation of girls and women in Sweden. The findings are to be presented on 30 June 2006.

    106. In 2005 the Board presented a status report on women with mental disabilities who have been subjected to violence. The report discusses prevalence, treatment of victims, legal aspects and good examples of working methods.

    Violence in the name of honour

    107. The past several years, the Government has taken special measures to help young people of both sexes who risk being subjected to oppression and violence in the name of honour at the hands of close relatives. A total of SEK 180 million has been assigned to this work for the years 2003–2007.

    108. On the instructions of the Government, the county administrative boards in 2002–2003 mapped the need of sheltered housing and other measures. The county administrative boards estimated that between 1,500 and 2,000 girls and young women were subjected to threats and violence from their close relatives, and that between ten and fifteen per cent of these needed sheltered housing. The County Administrative Boards in the three metropolitan counties have been provided with funds to support and develop sheltered housing. By early 2006, just over 100 places had been established in various types of accommodation. Along with the assignment to the metropolitan counties to provide sheltered housing, all county administrative boards have been tasked with carrying out preventive work such as education and training measures, collaboration plans and action plans, work to influence attitudes, etc. Projects run by NGOs and religious communities are also eligible for support.

    109. In April 2006 the National Board of Health and Welfare submitted an overarching status report regarding measures taken by the county administrative boards to combat violence in the name of honour.

    110. In 2005, the Government decided to allocate SEK 34.5 million to the county administrative boards for their continued work against this violence. At the same time, the National Police Board was instructed to provide training to personnel at various levels within the authority. The Swedish Prosecution Authority was tasked with carrying out a study and analysis of the processing of cases involving this type of violence, as well as arranging special training courses to raise prosecutors’ knowledge of and competence in this type of crime. Furthermore, the Institute for Evidence-Based Social Work Practice at the National Board of Health and Welfare was given the assignment of carrying out a survey of the research, follow-up and evaluation of working methods existing in countries where work with vulnerable young people has been going on for a long time. The IMS is also to follow up the results of the various measures now being tested at regional and local level using the special funds allocated by the Government to the county administrative boards. Finally, the Committee for State Grants to Religious Communities was provided with funding in order to extend its dialogue with the religious communities.

    111. In early 2006, the Government gave the National Courts Administration the assignment of arranging a special training course to raise judges’ knowledge and skills regarding crime in the name of honour committed against girls and young women as well as boys and young men. The National Agency for School Improvement was tasked with proposing and implementing measures to prevent and counteract such violence and oppression as a means of promoting gender equality work in schools. Finally, the National Board for Youth Affairs was given the assignment of supporting network-building for girls’ shelters as well as skills development in these issues.

    112. In June 2006, the Government allocated just under SEK 36 million to the county administrative boards for support to measures to help girls and young women, boys and young men who risk being subjected to violence in the name of honour. Of the funds granted, SEK 5 million is for measures at national or county level.

    113. In 2005, the National Board of Health and Welfare was instructed to carry out a nation-wide survey of the prevalence of violence and threats committed in the name of honour towards young people by close relatives. The survey is to be disaggregated by sex and is to separately report the prevalence of threats and violence in the name of honour towards young people because of their sexual orientation.

    114. In late 2004 the Government arranged an international conference on patriarchal violence. A report of the conference has been published, entitled Combating patriarchal violence against women – focusing on violence in the name of honour.

    115. The Government has also published the report Patriarchal violence – an attack on human security – A broad survey of measures to combat patriarchal violence and oppression, particularly acts committed in the name of honour directed at women, homosexuals, bisexuals and transgender persons.

    Article 4 — Measures to accelerate equality between women and men

    Articles 4.1-4.2

    116. See Sweden’s second and third reports. Measures to accelerate real equality within different areas are described in this report under each respective article.

    117. For an introduction to Swedish legislation to protect maternity, please see Sweden’s previous reports. Measures undertaken to make it easier for parents to combine gainful employment and parenthood are reported under Article 11.2.c. See also Article 5.b on parental insurance.

    118. Under the Parental Leave Act, a woman who is expecting a child, has just given birth to a child or who is breastfeeding a child is entitled to be transferred to other work while retaining her employment benefits, provided that she has been prohibited from continuing her regular work under work environment regulations.

    119. In 2002, the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman (JämO) had an information campaign on the discrimination of pregnant women. The campaign was the first part of the project Children AND jobs which was designed to inform the public about current regulations and rights and actively influence employers, trade unions and political decision-makers to end discrimination during pregnancy. The second part of the project, about parenthood and work, began in 2003. Its objective was to persuade employers to make it easier for the parents of small children to combine gainful employment and parenthood, and to inform parents and parents-to-be about the workplace regulations that apply to parents. This measure has succeeded in drawing attention to the issue and has resulted in more women reporting to JämO that they have been unfairly treated for pregnancy-related reasons. JämO has settled a number of cases in which pregnancy was involved.

    Article 5 — Stereotyped patterns

    120. Please refer to the Introduction and what has been described concerning the Swedish Government’s work to break down the prevailing gender-based power structure.

    121. Statistics Sweden carried out a new time-use study commissioned by the Government, which was presented in 2002. The previous study was carried out ten years earlier (see Sweden’s fourth report). The most recent study shows that the difference in the amount of unpaid work done by women and men fell during the 1990s, which is explained by a reduction in women’s unpaid work and men’s paid work. The study also shows that despite the fact that women’s participation in the labour market (paid work) is almost as high as that of men, women carry out 58 per cent of unpaid work in the home. One positive development is that the proportion of parental leave days taken by men has increased somewhat.

    122. Unequal distribution between women and men of household and care work makes it harder for women to take paid work and achieve economic independence and participation in the life of the community. As described in the Introduction to this report, the Government’s gender equality policy bill contains a new subsidiary target of equal distribution between women and men of unpaid household and care work. The target is important for a number of measures including economic family policy, and care and labour market issues. The target covers unpaid household work, care of the elderly and care of children.

    Article 5.a — Responsibility of men and men’s responsibility for gender equality

    123. The project “Men and Gender Equality” (see previous report) concluded in April 2002 with the production of a report that showed that the main reason that men do not want to get involved in gender equality work is the social structure which implies that men are superior to women and that women and men are not expected to work on the same tasks.

    124. In 2005, the Minister for Gender Equality convened two sessions of round-table discussions on men’s responsibility for taking stance against violence committed by men against women. Those invited were organisations working to promote gender equality, including the Swedish Association of Women’s Shelters, the Men’s Network (Manliga Nätverket) and other men’s networks that have involved themselves in the issue of men’s violence against women, as well as trade unions, sporting associations, representatives of the Armed Forces and a number of researchers.

    125. Work to encourage fathers to take out parental leave is one aspect of the work to change behaviour patterns and attitudes. See below under Article 5.b.

    Sexualisation of the public sphere and the role of the media

    126. Gender and power in the media, advertising and other public spheres reflect the lack of gender equality in society, while at the same time helping to cement it. Research points to images and language having become coarser over the past ten years and this trend has been called “sexualisation of the public sphere”. In gender equality policy, this is one of the Government’s five areas of focus for the current term of office.

    127. The question of appointing an inquiry into sexual discrimination in advertising is currently being considered within the Government Offices.

    128. The Government has allocated SEK 2.5 million for project work on sexualisation of the public sphere. The projects are ongoing and will be reported in 2006.

    129. The FLICKA project came to an end in June 2005. This project had been working since November 2003 on behalf of the Government to try to initiate a debate on the commercialisation and sexualisation that confront girls and boys in their everyday lives, and how this affects their image of themselves and others. Another aim of the project was to bring about dialogue with the media, the advertising industry, advertisers etc. about their role and responsibility in influencing children and young people. Twenty-five FLICKA days were arranged in 25 towns and cities in 2004. These brought together about 50,000 girls and boys to discuss self-esteem, gender equality, ideals and identity. About a hundred NGOs around the country were involved.

    130. In 2003, the Media Council, at the time called the Council on Media Violence, was given a supplementary assignment to bring a clear gender perspective to bear in its work and to pay special attention to depictions of violence and pornography, since this media content is feared to have the most damaging effect on children and young people. In 2004, the Council changed its name to the Media Council. In 2005, it produced two reports: one on young people’s use and experience of media and another on views on the effects of media violence and pornography on young people. In 2004, the Council also carried out an inventory and study of violence and pornography in visual media in relation to girls and boys.

    131. The Media Council’s work focuses on the media situation of children and young people. Under a 2003 supplementary directive, the work is to focus wholly on reducing the risk that children and young people will be subjected to harmful media content, with special focus on depictions of violence and pornography. Under these directives, the Council is also to have a clear gender equality perspective in its work. This can, for example, involve gathering and monitoring knowledge of how girls and boys respectively are affected by media content, as well as highlighting differences between how girls and boys use media, and pointing to the possible effects of such differences.

    132. Public service radio and television have an important role to play in not spreading stereotypical images of men and women, or of power structures and gender roles in society. A Government Bill about public service radio and television (Govt. Bill 2005/06:112) contains proposals for conditions and guidelines that are to apply during the forthcoming licensing period for public service radio and TV broadcast by the Swedish Radio, the Swedish Television and the Swedish Educational Broadcasting Company. According to the Bill, equality between women and men is a clear aspect of the fundamental democratic ideal of equal rights for all. Asserting gender equality between women and men is also a consequence of the “democracy provision” in the Radio and Television Act.

    Article 5.b — Parental insurance, parental leave, parental education

    133. See Sweden’s previous reports for an introduction to the Swedish parental insurance system.

    134. As described in previous reports, Swedish parental insurance consists of three benefits: maternity benefit, parental leave benefit and temporary parental leave benefit.

    135. Parents are currently entitled to parental leave benefit for a total of 480 days per child. Parental leave benefit is paid at 80 per cent of the parent’s income for 390 days. For parents who have a low income or no income at all, the benefit is SEK 180 per day. For the remaining 90 days, parental leave benefit is paid at SEK 180 a day.

    136. In 2002, an additional month was reserved for each parent, meaning that there are 60 days which the parents cannot transfer to each other. As described in Sweden’s fourth report, the first reserved month (one for each parent) was introduced in 1995.

    137. A comparison of two-year-olds born in 1995–2002 shows that the gap in parental leave taken out by parents has narrowed over time. Mothers still take out the majority of days however. Mothers of children born in 2002 who had reached the age of two but not three had on average taken out 257 more days than the fathers. For children born in 1999, this figure was 288 days. The introduction of the further reserved month in 2002 will probably provide impetus towards a more equal distribution. Of the number of adults who received parental leave benefit in 2004, 43.2 per cent were men, which can be compared with 42.7 per cent in 2003.

    138. The ceiling for income counting in the sickness insurance system is being raised on 1 July 2006. This increase will also apply to the calculation of parental leave benefit, maternity benefit and temporary parental leave benefit. According to the Government’s analysis in its Budget Bill for 2005, this increase is one way of encouraging fathers whose incomes are currently above the ceiling to take more parental leave days.

    139. The inquiry on reformed parental insurance presented its proposals for changes in parental leave in 2005. The inquiry proposes a more equal distribution of parental benefit days (paid leave) between the mother and father. The inquiry’s report is under consideration within the Government Offices.

    140. In June 2001, the National Institute of Public Health was commissioned by the Government to collect, analyse and disseminate information about how various types of support to parents can be organised to achieve concrete results. The NIPH submitted its report with proposals for new types of parental support in January 2005. The report contains a number of proposals for parental support during different stages of a child’s childhood, as well as proposals on the methodology and content of parental education based on child development and children’s needs.

    141. As a consequence of this report, in its 2006 appropriation directions for the NIPH the Government has instructed the NIPH to report what steps have been taken to disseminate the methodology compiled in the report, and assess the extent to which this has led to an improvement in the training and support provided to parents. In March 2006, the Government also decided to support the production of a DVD/video material oriented towards parent support groups.

    Article 6 — Trafficking in women and exploitation of women in prostitution

    142. Sweden has signed and ratified the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children Supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.

    143. Sweden signed the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (CETS no.197) on 16 May 2005.

    144. On 1 April 2005, in connection with an amendment to the provisions on sexual crimes in the Penal Code, the Act prohibiting the purchase of sexual services was extended to include cases where payment has been promised or made by someone else. Attempts to purchase a casual sexual service are also punishable. The offence comprises all forms of sexual services, whether they have been purchased on the street, in brothels, in massage parlours, from escort services or in other similar circumstances.

    145. The National Board of Health and Welfare (“the Board”) has been commissioned by the Government to gather information on and monitor the extent and development of prostitution and social action at local level. The Board has also been commissioned to provide support to development and improvement work at local level, where necessary. The Board has presented two previous surveys in this field, in 2000 and 2004. The most recent survey established that the number of women in prostitution in Sweden has fallen from about 2,500 before the introduction of the Act prohibiting the purchase of sexual services in 1999 to about 1,500 in 2002. In the three metropolitan areas, fewer women were exploited in street prostitution in 2003 compared to the period before the introduction of the Act prohibiting the purchase of sexual services. The number of buyers has also fallen.

    146. In 2002, the police in Stockholm and the Social Services Prostitution Group in Gothenburg estimated that 200–250 women were sold for sexual purposes via the Internet in Sweden. A research study about the sex industry on the Internet was carried out in 2003. The study showed that a relatively small number of women, 80–100, were sold for sexual purposes via the Internet in Sweden. In 2004, the National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings at the National Criminal Investigation Department estimated that 400-600 women and girls were victims of trafficking in human beings in Sweden.

    147. Regarding what is sometimes called “indoor prostitution”, the NCID’s view is that if trafficking in women is to be profitable for the traffickers, they have to be able to establish contact with potential buyers and provide them with access to the victims. The police are giving priority to combating indoor prostitution in e.g. apartment brothels through active police work such as information gathering, bugging, surveillance and extensive detective work on the Internet. The social services’ prostitution groups also work to establish contact with people who are exploited in indoor as well as outdoor prostitution. Additionally, some prostitution groups and NGOs have carried out studies of, and drawn up methods for, outreach activities for people prostituted through Internet websites.

    148. To further promote the police’s work of investigating and combating trafficking in human beings for sexual purposes, the Government decided in 2003 to earmark at least SEK 10 million a year from the regular appropriation to the National Police Board during the years 2004–2006. The funds have been used for operational work, combating prostitution activity on the Internet, and education and training for contact persons and local police authorities.

    149. On 1 July 2002 a provision criminalising trafficking in human beings for sexual purposes was added to the Penal Code. The area of application includes all cross-border trafficking in human beings for sexual purposes in which the perpetrator exploits the vulnerability of another person. The provision also applies to anyone who receives, transports or gives shelter to a person with the purpose of sexual exploitation. Attempt, preparation or conspiracy to traffic in human beings for sexual purposes, or failure to report such a crime, was also criminalised. Under the legislation, a trafficker can be sentenced to a minimum of two years and a maximum of ten years in prison, or if the crime committed is considered to be less serious, to a maximum of four years.

    150. On 1 July 2004, in order to fully implement the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, Supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime along with the European Union Council framework decision on combating trafficking in human beings (2002/629/JHA), amendments were made to the Swedish legislation on trafficking in human beings. The amendments extended criminalisation to all forms of trafficking in persons, including trafficking within national borders and for the purpose of e.g. forced labour or exploitation for the removal of organs.

    151. In February 2006 the Government appointed an inquiry with the task of reviewing the 2004 anti-trafficking legislation. The inquiry will evaluate the implementation of the legislation, suggest possible additional legislative changes in order for Sweden to be able to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, and analyse whether Swedish penal law provides adequate protection against child marriage and forced marriages. The review will be completed on 30 June 2007.

    152. On April 1, 2005, the offence of procuring was amended, changing the maximum sentence for aggravated procuring from six to eight years.

    153. According to the annual situation reports by the National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings, the prohibition of the purchase of a sexual service deters traffickers from establishing themselves in Sweden and functions as a barrier against trafficking in human beings.

    154. In 2005, the National Criminal Investigation Division at the National Police Board started a special investigation into the extent of under-age victims of trafficking in human beings in Sweden.

    155. In collaboration with the National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings, the Government Offices regularly organises seminars and workshops for members of the law enforcement system, including prosecutors, police officers, judges and officers in training, about Swedish policies and legislation concerning prostitution and trafficking in human beings.

    156. Several police districts have created special units that work specifically against trafficking in human beings and prostitution.

    157. According to statistics from the National Council for Crime Prevention, 44 cases of trafficking in human beings and 94 cases of procuring were reported during 2005. During the same year, 460 persons were reported for having breached the provision prohibiting the purchase of sexual services. Between January 1999 and February 2006, more than 1,300 people were reported under the provision prohibiting the purchase of sexual services.

    158. On 1 October 2004, the Aliens Act was amended and a new provision was added providing the possibility to issue time-limited residence permits to victims or witnesses of trafficking in human beings and other crimes. A time-limited residence permit can be issued to a victim of trafficking in human beings when it is deemed necessary in order to carry out a preliminary investigation or the main hearing in a criminal case. Depending on the complexity of the case, the permit may be extended upon application by a prosecutor. The permit has no upper time limit. During their stay in Sweden, victims/witnesses are entitled to health care and medical attention, as well as financial aid.

    159. In 2005, the National Board of Health and Welfare was commissioned by the Government to develop special written information to the municipalities concerning the amendments to the Alien Act and the abovementioned rights of victims of trafficking in human beings.

    160. Since 2001, a project against prostitution and trafficking in human beings has been operating under the auspices of the Government Offices. The project has developed and implemented a number of measures within the framework of the Government’s national and international work to prevent and combat prostitution and trafficking in human beings.

    161. In June 2001, at an informal Nordic-Baltic ministerial meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania, the Ministers for Gender Equality agreed upon a joint information and awareness-raising campaign against trafficking in women in the Nordic and Baltic Countries. The Nordic-Baltic campaign, which was partly funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers, was carried out under Swedish coordination during 2002. In June 2004, the NCM published the final report of the Campaign.

    162. The overall objective of the Swedish part of the Nordic-Baltic Campaign Against Trafficking in Women was to raise awareness and knowledge of prostitution and global trafficking in women through information to and education and training of the Government and other public authorities, NGOs, the media and the general public. The national campaign also focused on different measures directed towards buyers and potential buyers of prostituted women and children, mostly girls, in Sweden, as well as towards those men who travel to other countries for the specific purpose of buying and exploiting women and children in prostitution.

    163. The Swedish Government is developing a National Action Programme for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, composed of two national action plans: a national action plan for the continued work against prostitution and trafficking in human beings for sexual purposes, especially women and children, and a national action plan for combating trafficking in human beings for the purpose of forced labour, removal of organs and other forms of exploitation.

    164. The national action plan for continued work against prostitution and trafficking in human beings for sexual purposes will include an overview of previously implemented measures, special preventative measures to counteract the demand for persons – especially women and children – for purposes of prostitution and trafficking in human beings for sexual exploitation, and measures of protection and support to victims. The plan will also include measures targeting the justice system, police and social services as well as measures to promote and enhance the protection of human rights and to ameliorate social, political, legal and economic inequalities in countries of origin and countries of transit.

    Part II

    Article 7 — Eliminating discrimination against women in the country’s political and public life

    165. In a Communication to the Riksdag in the spring of 2004, the Government stated that democracy policy should be based on a feminist analysis of the conditions and functioning of democracy.

    166. Up-to-date, collected and easily available statistics of the distribution of women and men in positions of power in Sweden are a necessary basis for the Government’s continued work in the field of gender equality. An inquiry has been appointed to map and report gender distribution in positions of power in Sweden. The inquiry will report its findings no later than 1 November 2006.

    167. See also information about minority policy under Article 2.c.

    Article 7.a — Electoral turnout

    168. Prior to general elections, campaigns are undertaken to raise electoral turnout. These campaigns focus on groups that have a lower electoral turnout than others. Groups that currently vote to a lesser extent than others include young women and young men, unemployed women and men as well as women and men with foreign backgrounds, i.e. who were born abroad or born in Sweden but have two parents who were born abroad. Measures are also being undertaken prior to the 2006 general elections within the framework of the Government’s long-term programme of measures Participating Sweden, designed to fight exclusion and increase people’s participation in Swedish society. One of its aims is to help promote equality between women and men.

    169. There is a long tradition of disparity in electoral turnout between women and men, in which women have had a higher turnout than men. This gap has closed, and more or less disappeared at the most recent general election in 2002. The differences in men’s and women’s electoral turnout seem different however depending on what groups are studied. Among young people, electoral turnout varies over time. For example, in the 1998 election young men had a higher turnout while in the 2002 elections it was young women who had an approximately 4 per cent higher turnout than the men. Among the oldest voters, a greater proportion of men vote, while among the middle-aged, on the other hand, a higher proportion of women vote. Among those born abroad, women have a higher electoral turnout than men.

    Article 7.b — Elected representatives

    170. On 1 July 2002, a number of legislative changes were introduced regarding conditions for elected representatives. The Government felt that these changes could contribute to gender equality. The legislative changes include measures to extend opportunities of taking leave of absence from employment and receiving compensation for childcare.

    171. The Government has an ongoing dialogue with representatives at local and regional political levels, not least to increase women’s participation in political processes. Men are overrepresented and women underrepresented at higher levels of the power hierarchy, and there is still gender segregation into different policy areas. In municipalities, the proportion of women in chairmanship posts is approximately 30 per cent, and the proportion of men 70 per cent. Women are less underrepresented at regional level. Of members of committees for operational and resource issues, 47 per cent are women and 53 per cent are men. On the county administrative boards’ committees generally, 44 per cent of members are women and 56 per cent men.

    172. A number of studies have been carried out to provide a basis for the Government’s work to strengthen the power and influence of women in the political decision-making process. In September 2005, Uppsala University, on the instructions of the Government, presented a report on structural impediments and treatment in Swedish politics from a discrimination perspective. The report is an overview of knowledge in the field and deals with discrimination on grounds of gender, ethnic origin, age, disability and sexual orientation. With regard to gender, it is primarily a matter of supplementing existing research to obtain a more comprehensive view of how women are treated.

    173. On the instructions of the Government, statistics are also collected on an ongoing basis on women’s and men’s participation in voluntary associations and political life between elections. This work is a stage in the follow-up of democracy policy, and provides a basis for decisions on future measures in the field.

    The proportion of women and men in political assemblies, public and private governing boards, publicly-owned companies and private enterprises: Riksdag and Government

    174. Since the 1994 election, the Swedish Government has had more or less the same number of women and men. Ministerial posts are not divided into traditionally “female” and “male” areas of interest; women and men are appointed according to their qualifications. For example, the Minister for Culture and Education is a man, the Minister for Defence a woman and the Minister for Public Health and Social Services is a man. The post of Prime Minister has always been held by a man however.

    175. Since the 2002 election, women have held 45 per cent of seats in the Riksdag and men 55 per cent of seats. The following table shows the distribution of women and men in the seven political parties represented in the Riksdag.


    Political party
    Per cent
    Per cent
    Social Democratic Party
    Moderate Party
    Liberal Party
    Christian Democrats
    Left Party
    Centre Party
    Green Party

    Source: Election Authority/Riksdag website

    176. Members of Standing Committees are not divided into traditionally female and male spheres of interest, but are evenly allocated over the various areas of responsibility. However, most of the Standing Committees and the Committee on EU Affairs are chaired by men: 10 men and 6 women.

    Municipalities and county councils

    177. After the 2002 elections, the gender distribution in municipal assemblies averaged 42 per cent women and 58 per cent men. This is a less gender-equal distribution than after the 1998 elections, and is a reduction in women’s representation in municipal assemblies by 3 percentage points.

    178. Active gender equality work has led to an increase in women’s representation in chairmanship posts in county councils, where 44 per cent are today women and 56 per cent men. Many professional categories in the health and care sectors are still characterised by heavy overrepresentation of women, however, while men are still overrepresented in various decision-making positions in health and care provision.

    Government sector governing boards

    179. In 2004, the proportion of women on the governing boards of central government agencies averaged 48 per cent, and that of men 52 per cent. The gender distribution on regional governing boards averaged 50–50. This means that the target of equal numbers of men and women is close to being met, although work remains to be done with regard to central government governing boards. The same can be said of gender distribution among chairmen, roughly two thirds of whom are men.

    180. With the aim of reducing distorted gender distribution among chairmanship posts, the Government intends to pay particular attention to these appointments over the next few years.

    181. The more or less equal distribution of women and men has been achieved thanks to constant attention to gender distribution in nominations and appointments. The routine includes the requirement that a nominating body must nominate both a woman and a man to each post, so that the Government can choose the underrepresented gender and appoint a board with an equal gender distribution.

    Heads of public agencies

    182. There has been some reduction in men’s dominance among heads of public agencies. In 2003, 68 per cent of heads of public agencies were men and 32 per cent women. On 1 January 2006, the proportion of men was 66 per cent while that of women was 34 per cent.

    Publicly-owned companies

    183. The Swedish state is the biggest company owner in Sweden. Companies worth about SEK 500 billion and employing about 200,000 people are managed via the Government Offices, and about 400 people sit on the boards of these companies. Eligibility for a place on a board of directors requires general competence in business management, business development, the sector in question, financial issues or other relevant areas. Appointments are also to achieve a balance of competencies, background, age and gender. An interim target set up by the Government in 1999 was that at least 40 per cent of board members would be women by 2003. Women’s representation was 28 per cent at the time. The 40 per cent target was achieved in June 2003. In May 2006, the proportion of women in companies wholly owned by the Swedish state was 47 per cent. These results for state-owned companies have been achieved through goal-oriented and active corporate governance.

    184. Managing director posts and senior management groups are still dominated by men. Women’s representation here is considerably lower than on boards of directors; 86 per cent of MD posts are held by men as are 77 per cent of positions in senior management groups. The state’s ownership policy prescribes that state-owned companies are to be role models in gender equality work, and the Government sees it as an ongoing and important task to utilise the competencies represented by women and men, not least in appointments at senior level. These are followed up annually through the companies’ reports to the Government and Riksdag.

    Private enterprise

    185. Developments are proceeding much more slowly in private enterprise. In 2002, the Government initiated a project with the aim of raising awareness among senior decision-makers and providing companies with tools for a gender-neutral recruitment process. Within the framework of the project, the county administrative boards arranged seminars in their counties for managing directors, board members and managerial candidates. A total of about 300 companies took part. Evaluations showed that participants were very satisfied and had improved their knowledge of e.g. pitfalls in recruitment processes.

    186. The Government has participated in the European Union-funded project Women to the Top, whose objective was to speed the process of bringing more women senior managers into private enterprise and public administration.

    187. In 2002, the Government appointed an inquiry into women in leading positions in private enterprise, in order to survey gender equality in large organisations. One of the findings of the inquiry’s report (SOU 2003:16) was that male dominance in leading positions persists in large organisations in the private sector. It was also found that while change is indeed under way in the organisations with the objective of creating a more equal gender distribution, women’s share of places on the boards of directors of privately-owned companies has only increased from 2 per cent to 8 per cent over the past ten years (not including personnel representatives).

    188. When the inquiry presented its report in 2003, the Government arranged a number of round-table conferences between representatives of the business community and the Government, at which participants were invited to submit written proposals for action. In late 2003, the Government arranged a major conference for a wider circle in the business community and other sectors of society, in order to discuss these proposals and other ideas designed to speed development towards a more equal gender distribution in leading posts and boards of directors.

    189. The Government and Riksdag have also legislated to achieve more equal gender distribution. Since 1 January 2004, the gender distribution of company managements must be reported in the companies’ annual reports. The new rules raise the visibility of the gender distribution of companies’ leading decision-makers.

    190. Male dominance fell on the boards of directors of stock-exchange-listed companies from 95 per cent in 2000 to 84 per cent in 2005.

    191. To examine the possibility of further speeding progress towards more equal gender distribution, the Government has appointed an inquiry with the task of studying whether, and in which case how, provisions on gender quotas on boards of directors could be introduced into Swedish law. The terms of reference of the inquiry state that solutions in which the companies themselves achieve satisfactory gender distribution on their boards are the most desirable ones, but that legislative measures may be considered if this does not happen. The inquiry reported its findings in early June 2006. Its findings will be circulated for consultation and will thereafter be considered by the Government Offices.

    Composition of the courts

    192. In 2003, the Government implemented some changes in the regulations governing the appointment of judges. This was to highlight the need of a more equal gender distribution among judges. Furthermore, measures to encourage more women judges to become interested in leadership issues, and thus encourage more women to apply for senior positions, are to be intensified. The number of women judges, including chief judges and other senior judges, has grown steadily since the Government’s previous report.

    General courts and general administrative courts

    193. In 2005, women accounted for 28 per cent and men 72 per cent of permanent judges in the general courts. This is an increase of 11 percentage points since 1999. In 2005, women accounted for 33 per cent and men 67 per cent of judges in the general administrative courts. This is an increase of 6 percentage points since 1999. The proportion of women chief judges has increased in recent years.

    The Labour Court

    194. In 2004, women accounted for 48 per cent and men 52 per cent of the permanent members of the Labour Court. The same year, 44 per cent of stand-in members were women and 56 per cent were men. The overall distribution between women and men is unchanged.

    Article 7.c — Voluntary associations

    195. A new grants system for women’s organizations has recently been introduced with the aim of supporting women’s organisation into their own types of organisation.

    196. The grant to women’s organisations will be successively increased during the years 2006–2008, from about SEK 3 million to SEK 28 million. The grant is managed by a Committee for the allocation of government funding to women’s organisations and gender equality projects, and is part of the special initiative to raise support to women’s organisations (see Article 2.f) presented in the 2006 Budget Bill.

    197. An inquiry was appointed in the autumn of 2005 to examine current government policy on voluntary associations and submit proposals for its future orientation, scope and design. The inquiry is to specially take into account ongoing changes in women’s and men’s engagement and ways of organising themselves, and what promotes and impedes their organisation. The inquiry is to report the consequences of its proposals on women’s and men’s opportunities to form and participate in voluntary associations and popular movements, inter alia from a gender equality perspective. The inquiry is to report its findings no later than 30 June 2007.

    198. In its recent gender equality bill, the Government took the view that the starting point in this area should be to set a requirement making government organisational grants to NGOs conditional on the organisations incorporating a gender equality perspective. The introduction of the requirement for a gender equality perspective will take place gradually, e.g. in appropriation directions and when new grant systems are introduced or changes are made in grant systems for other reasons.

    Article 8 — International representation and international participation

    199. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has given priority to finding more women candidates for important international positions. The number of women heads of missions abroad has grown from 16 in 2000 to 33 in 2005, which is an increase from 16 per cent in 2000 to 32 per cent in 2005. Both female and male candidates must always be presented in the preparatory stage prior to such appointments.

    200. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ package of gender equality measures for 2005/2006 states, among other things, that:

    ­ An equal gender distribution is to be sought in all departments/missions abroad and in all types of position. This means that the opportunity to employ/station a member of the underrepresented sex at a department/mission abroad must always be given special consideration during recruitment.

    ­ The proportion of women managers in the Ministry in Stockholm and at missions abroad is to be at least 40 per cent.

    201. In an effort to promote women’s opportunities to participate in the work of international organisations, the Government Offices endeavours to use its various contacts and networks to particularly encourage women to apply for such positions.

    202. The Government’s ability to influence recruitment to the European Union institutions (apart from its two judges and its member of the Court of Auditors, which are appointed by Sweden) is limited to those posts at high levels where political support is regarded as necessary. This applies to Director or Director-General posts. At the eight European Union institutions, there are currently two women and seven men from Sweden at that level.

    203. Slightly over 1,000 Swedes work in the European Union institutions. Of these, just over 600 work at the European Commission. Fifty-eight per cent of these are women and 42 per cent men. The Commission is the only institution that publishes current gender-disaggregated statistics.

    204. The vertical gender distribution among Swedes who work at the European Commission is as follows:

    ­ Of officials and senior officials, 46 per cent are women and 54 per cent men.

    ­ Of assistants, 66 per cent are women and 34 per cent men.

    ­ Of secretaries, 96 per cent are women and 4 per cent men.

    ­ Of technical staff, none are women and 100 per cent are men.

    205. The Swedish Post and Telecom Agency has been tasked with working to achieve more equal gender distribution in Swedish delegations that take part in international cooperation within the Agency’s area of responsibility.

    Article 9 — Citizenship

    206. See also Sweden’s previous reports.

    Article 9.1-9.2

    207. In the 2003 appropriation directions to the Swedish Migration Board, the Government charged the Board with the task of reporting implementation of the guidelines for how women’s need of protection is to be better taken into account in the asylum process, and how work should proceed in the future. The 2006 appropriation directions also direct the Migration Board to take the gender equality perspective into account within the framework of its day-to-day work and, in cooperation with the Integration Board, when providing information to asylum seekers.

    208. In asylum investigations, officials are to particularly consider women’s grounds for asylum and how they are to be taken into account. Migration Board personnel are provided with training in gender equality.

    209. A new organisation for processing and decision-making on alien and citizenship cases came into force on 31 March 2006 and the Migration Board and the Government Offices are cooperating on how to introduce a gender perspective into the new organisation.

    210. A new Aliens Act (Government Bill 2004/05:170) was adopted by the Riksdag on 14 September 2005. The law is now gender-neutral.

    211. In September 2005, the Government submitted a Bill to the Riksdag on refugee status and persecution on grounds of gender or sexual orientation (Govt. Bill 2005/06:6). The Bill proposes that those who have a well-founded fear of persecution due to their gender or sexual orientation, and who are granted protection under current legislation as otherwise in need of protection (subsidiary protection status), should instead receive protection as refugees. The Bill has been adopted by the Riksdag and the provision is now included in Chapter 4, Section 1 of the Aliens Act (2005:716).

    212. The European Union Asylum Qualification Directive (2004/83/EC) states that acts of persecution that are grounds for being regarded as a refugee under the Directive include gender-specific acts. The Government appointed an inquiry with the task of proposing how the Directive is to be implemented in Sweden. The inquiry reported its findings in January 2006 and the proposal is currently being circulated for consultation, after which it will be processed within the Government Offices.

    Article 10 — Education

    213. For an introduction to the Swedish school system, see Sweden’s second report. See also Articles 2.a–b in this report on legislation in the field of education.

    Article 10.a — Pre-school, compulsory school, upper secondary school and higher education

    (a) Pre-school, compulsory school and upper secondary school

    214. In its appropriation directions for 2004, the Agency for School Improvement was charged with the task of undertaking general measures in the area of gender equality. The Agency reported to the Government on five development areas that should be given priority in the Agency’s work of development support. Democracy, gender equality and influence is one of these five prioritised areas.

    215. In the 2006 appropriation directions to the Agency, the Government has pointed to gender equality as a prioritised area.

    216. The Government has devoted a total of SEK 12 million inter alia to make research into basic values available to schools. The basic values of schools are defined in the curricula of the school system as follows: the inviolability of human life, individual freedom and integrity, the equal value of all people, equality between women and men, and solidarity with the weak and vulnerable are the values to which the school is to give expression.

    217. The Agency for School Improvement has produced supporting material for schools on the role of the school with respect to the situation of girls and boys in environments strongly permeated by patriarchal values. The target group for this material is school staff. It was distributed to all municipalities and schools in the autumn of 2003.

    218. The Government gave the Agency for School Improvement the assignment of producing reference material to promote and intensify the gender equality work of schools and municipalities. This material provides instructive examples of how schools and municipalities, working together with various organisations and public agencies, can work with gender equality and social and ethnic diversity. All municipalities and schools were provided with information and material in the autumn of 2003.

    219. In 2004, the Government appointed the Delegation for Gender Equality in Pre-school, which is to emphasise, reinforce and improve gender equality work in pre-schools. The assignment runs until 30 June 2006 and the tasks of the Delegation include allocating funds to gender equality projects, developing tools to enable pre-school staff to examine and analyse e.g. educational aids, play materials and children’s literature from a gender perspective, and highlighting good examples of measures in Sweden and other countries to encourage more men to apply for educational programmes oriented towards children and work in pre-school. The Delegation has reported on its work in an interim report ( SOU 2004:115).

    220. The Government has instructed the Swedish National Agency for Education to take gender into account when drafting subject syllabuses.

    221. The website of the Agency for School Improvement has a collection of examples where different municipalities have reported on their work on gender equality issues.

    222. The Government allocated funds for the training of pedagogical resource personnel with skills in gender equality and gender studies in 2002–2004. The training course was designed for teachers and other teaching staff in pre-school, compulsory school and upper secondary school. The objective of the course is that the “gender pedagogues” will do practical work to bring about change in their operations. So far, a total of 255 gender pedagogues have been trained in 145 municipalities.

    (b) Higher education

    223. Since 2001, the Government’s work to promote gender equality between women and men has focused on protection against discrimination and the promotion of a more equal gender distribution among students as well as staff and management.

    224. The content of higher education courses is primarily determined by the universities and other higher educational institutions themselves. However, the Government sets general targets for different educational programmes in the Higher Education Ordinance. A number of professional degrees contain descriptions of objectives concerning gender equality aspects. In 2004, the Government tasked the National Agency for Higher Education with examining how gender issues and issues of men’s violence against women are taken into account in a number of professional programmes. The study shows that many programmes raise the issue of men’s violence against women but that this education needs to be improved in many areas. A review is currently under way of the degree descriptions for professional degrees in the Degree Ordinance (Higher Education Ordinance 1993:100, Appendix 2). The issues being considered by the Government include gender equality and men’s violence against women.

    225. The Council for the Renewal of Higher Education, which was part of the National Agency for Higher Education until 2006, has in recent years paid particular attention to the gender perspective in its allocation of funds to projects. In its annual report, the Council is to describe how it has worked to develop methods for using the gender perspective in the teaching and development of courses for teachers in higher education institutions.

    226. From 2005, all universities and other higher education institutions are to report how the gender perspective is included in their courses.

    227. The Government Bill on a new form of teacher training, (Govt. Bill 1999/2000:135) instructs higher education institution that provide teacher training to apply a gender perspective to their teacher training programmes. Higher education institutions are also to develop the trainee teachers’ awareness and knowledge of the importance of gender issues in their future work. To extend knowledge of gender equality in teaching, etc., the National Agency for Higher Education has been tasked with stimulating further improvement of teacher training in these respects. Additionally, degree descriptions for teaching degrees were changed in 2005 so that students will be able to provide information about, and apply, current provisions designed to prevent and counteract discrimination and other degrading treatment of children and pupils.

    Gender-related study choices in higher education

    228. Students’ study choices of are still heavily gender-related. This is most obvious in teacher training programmes and programmes within the care sector, and in some technical and scientific programmes. The Government’s objective is to achieve equal gender distribution in the educational programmes, and it therefore requires higher education institutions to annually report measures undertaken to achieve improvements in programmes with unequal gender distribution. The incremental annual changes are small but a positive trend is visible within certain areas, e.g. the proportion of men taking teacher training programmes has grown by three percentage points since the 2000/01 academic year.

    229. There are similar large variations between postgraduate education courses. The proportions of women and men are 61 per cent and 39 per cent respectively in medicine, and in technological fields 30 per cent and 70 per cent respectively. Over the past five years, the greatest increase in numbers of women taking a doctoral degree has been within the humanities; the proportion of women grew by 17 percentage points to 58 per cent in 2004. The Government also requires for postgraduate education that universities and other higher education institutions report back their measures to achieve a more equal gender distribution.

    230. In 2003, the National Agency for Higher Education studied the gender equality work of the higher education institutions and in its report describes good examples of how recruitment to courses with an unequal gender distribution can be improved. For example, technology days and summer schools are arranged to attract women to technological programmes.

    Gender distribution among the students, personnel and management of higher education institutions

    231. Among those who begin studying at higher education institutions, 58 per cent are women and 42 per cent men. The proportions of women and men among undergraduate students have remained largely unchanged since 2001: 60 per cent and 40 per cent respectively.

    232. The number of women in postgraduate education is growing. In 2004, the number of women beginning postgraduate studies exceeded the number of men for the first time. The proportion of women completing a doctoral degree has grown by four percentage points since 2001, to 45 per cent.

    233. The Government is striving to make higher education institutions accessible to new groups of students and to achieve more equal recruitment, to open the doors to the knowledge society to all. Subsequent to a 2002 amendment to the Higher Education Act (1992:1434), universities and higher education institutions must actively promote and broaden recruitment. Many higher education institutions have e.g. appointed student ambassadors who visit upper secondary schools and provide information about programmes in higher education.

    234. The Government has set recruitment targets for professorships with the aim of achieving equal proportions of women and men in all categories of personnel. To the same end, it calls upon the higher education institutions themselves to set recruitment targets for other teaching categories. An evaluation for the 2001–2004 period shows that of 24 higher education institutions that had recruitment targets for female professors in the 2001–2004 period, a third reached the target. The average target was 24 per cent women, and the result was 21 per cent, i.e. at the same level as for 1997–1999. Overall developments are moving in the right direction however. Of newly appointed professors in 1997–99, 21 per cent were women and 79 per cent men, and in 2004, 26 per cent were women and 74 per cent men. The overall proportion of female to male professors in 2004 was 16 to 84 per cent.

    235. In its appropriation directions for the 2005 budget year, the Government has set targets for 2005–2008 (which vary between the higher education institutions) for a minimum proportion of new female professors for universities and other higher education institutions approved for research in one or more disciplinary domains. These targets express a requirement for a greater proportion of women among professors appointed. For other higher education institutions, the Government has stated that higher education institutions, when employing professors and senior lecturers, are to attempt to achieve a proportion of women that lies between 40 and 60 per cent, or approaching this interval.

    236. Universities and other higher education institutions have an assignment to report annually to the Government what steps they have taken to achieve a more equal gender distribution in the recruitment and promotion of teachers and in the recruitment of heads of faculty, heads of department, directors of studies or equivalent positions.

    237. The direct grants to research and postgraduate education that the Government allocates to universities and other higher education institutions are primarily used to fund posts. These posts are filled in compliance with regulations, including the Equal Opportunities Act, which prohibits discrimination. National research councils have guidelines to prevent the occurrence of discrimination in the allocation of funds for research, and report how resources are allocated using statistics disaggregated by sex.

    238. A third of the vice-chancellors at universities and other higher education institutions are women, and two thirds are men. Women are in the minority and men in the majority in other leading positions too. From 1 July 2002, the governing boards of higher education institutions are as far as possible to find both female and male candidates when vice-chancellors and deputy vice-chancellors are to be appointed. The boards are to report to the Government how they have taken the gender equality aspect into account.

    Students and personnel at universities and other higher education institutions in 2005
    Gender distribution (%) and number

    Category Gender distribution Number

    Women Men All

    Students 60 40 337 400

    Care 86 14 24 860

    Technology 26 74 41 690

    New doctoral students 50 50 2 940

    Doctoral degrees 45 55 2 740

    Social Science 50 50 360

    Technology 23 77 630

    Research assistants 40 60 1 010

    Lecturers 34 66 6 330

    Professors 16 84 3 840

    Source: 2005 Annual Report of the National Agency for

    Higher Education (2005:6 R) and Statistics Sweden.

    Promotion of gender research

    239. In a research Bill (2004/05:80), the Government allocated further funds to gender research. The Swedish Research Council’s funds for gender research have been increased from SEK 10 million to SEK 22 million per year. The National Secretariat for Gender Research at Gothenburg University has also been given a further SEK 1 million a year for its operations.

    240. In 2001, the Government allocated resources for 16 national research schools, one of which is for gender studies. In 2006, 45 postdoctoral students – 40 women and 5 men – were linked to the National Graduate School of Gender Studies at Umeå University.

    Articles 10.b-10.d

    241. See Article 10 and previous reports.

    Article 10.e — Adult education

    242. The overall objective for adult learning (including municipal adult education) includes a gender equality objective. The majority of those who apply for courses in municipal adult education are women. In the past three academic years, 34 per cent of students in municipal adult education have been men and 66 per cent women. Many municipalities are working to recruit men to adult education by changing the range of courses on offer and offering workplace-based teaching.

    243. The appropriation directions for the Agency for School Improvement say that the Agency is to particularly focus its work on three areas, one of which is gender equality. For this reason, it has initiated a gender equality project with a number of participating municipalities.

    244. All applications to provide advanced vocational training must contain information on how the provider intends to work to counteract gender-related choices. The proportions of women and men in advanced vocational training were 50/50, which is a growth in the number of women by 4 per cent since 2001 and an increase of 3 per cent for women compared to the year before. To attract more women to advanced vocational training courses, the providers have primarily arranged information and marketing measures. Among the measures implemented are written and oral information provided to jobseekers, upper secondary students at education fairs, and schools. There are very clear cases of gender-related choices: for example, 86 per cent of students on advanced vocational education courses in the care sector are women while only 22 per cent of students on construction-oriented courses are women.

    245. The Government has introduced a child supplement for students from 1 January 2006 to help students with children.

    Articles 10.f-10.h

    246. We refer here to previous reports and to Articles 10.a and 5.b in this report.

    Article 11 — Labour market and working life

    247. See also Article 2 on the Equal Opportunities Act and gender discrimination in working life.

    Article 11.1.a — Labour force participation

    248. See also Sweden’s fourth report

    249. Labour force participation among women, particularly among the mothers of small children, is higher in Sweden than in most other countries in Europe. This has provided women with greater economic independence, which is a great step towards gender equality.

    Economic activity rate, age 20-64, 2001-2005
    Proportion (%) of the population in the labour force

    Year Women Men

    2001 79 84

    2002 79 84

    2003 79 84

    2004 80 85

    2005 80 86

    Source: Statistics Sweden, Labour Force Survey

    250. Women have a somewhat lower employment rate than men.

    Employment rate, age 20-64, 2001-2005
    Proportion (%) of the population employed

    Year Women Men

    2001 76 81

    2002 76 80

    2003 76 80

    2004 76 80

    2005 76 81

    Source: Statistics Sweden, Labour Force Survey

    251. According to Statistics Sweden’s Labour Force Survey (AKU), a million people between 16 and 64 years of age in Sweden have some sort of disability. In the survey, this is defined as e.g. impaired sight or hearing, speech or voice problems, allergies, mental disabilities, psoriasis, cardiovascular problems and other disabilities. This corresponds to approximately 20 per cent of the population. For six of ten people with a disability, the disability means that their working capacity is reduced. Of those with a disability, 60 per cent of women and 50 per cent of men think that their working capacity is reduced.

    Economic activity rate, age 16-64, 4th quarter 2004
    Proportion (%) of the population in the labour force

    Women Men All


    total 63 69 66

    with reduced

    working capacity 52 58 55

    without reduced

    working capacity 80 81 81

    Non-disabled 78 81 79

    Population in total 75 79 77

    Source: Labour Market Board and Statistics Sweden,

    situation of the disabled on the labour market, 4th quarter 2004

    252. Labour force participation in 2004 was lower for women than for men, apart from among people with disabilities without reduced working capacity, where there was no significant difference between the sexes. The most difficult situation is that of women with acquired disabilities, only 10 per cent of whom work on the open labour market (RFV analyserar, 2003:15).

    253. Unemployment for both women and men has increased during the period reported.

    Unemployed, age 20-64, 2001-2005
    Proportion (%) of the labour force

    Year Women Men

    2001 3.5 5.8

    2002 3.4 4.2

    2003 4.2 5.1

    2004 4.9 5.6

    2005 5.3 5.8

    Source: Statistics Sweden, Labour Force Survey

    Article 11.1.b — Part-time unemployment

    254. Those who involuntarily work part-time and want to work full-time are registered as part-time unemployed. Part-time unemployment is particularly prevalent in sectors dominated by women. Regardless of whether part-time employment is voluntary or involuntary, it affects salary, development and career opportunities, as well as levels of compensation in the social insurance system, e.g. sick pay and parental leave insurance, unemployment insurance and pensions. Part-time work here is work for 1–34 hours a week.

    255. Part-time and temporary employment is more common among women than among men. In 2003, 36 per cent of employed women aged 20–64 with children under the age of 17 worked part-time. The equivalent figure for men was 6 per cent. Among employed women with no children at home, 30 per cent worked part-time, and the equivalent figure for men was 12 per cent. The proportion of women working part-time has fallen in the 1990s, while the number of men has increased. 170,000 fewer women, but 40,000 more men, now work part-time.

    256. Since 2002, a law (2002:293) has been in existence that prohibits the discrimination of part-time employees and employees whose employment is limited in duration. Under this law, it is prohibited for an employer to treat a part-time employee, or an employee with limited-duration employment, less favourably. Indirect discrimination is also prohibited.

    Employed, age 20-64, by full-time and part-time, 2001-2005
    Percentage distribution

    Year Women Men

    F-t P-t F-t P-t

    2001 67 33 92 8

    2002 67 33 91 9

    2003 67 33 91 9

    2004 67 33 90 10

    2005 65 35 89 11

    Source: Statistics Sweden, Labour Force Survey.

    F-t = Full time, P-t = Part time

    Part-time unemployed aged 16-64 as a percentage of registered full-time or part-time jobseekers, 2001-2005

    Year Women Men

    2001 48 15

    2002 46 13

    2003 39 11

    2004 35 11

    2005 33 11

    Source: Labour Market Board (AMS)

    257. To remedy the problem of involuntary part-time unemployment, the Government appointed an inquiry to examine the possibility of strengthening the right to full-time work. The inquiry’s findings were reported to the Government in late November 2005 (SOU 2004:50). The Government intends to submit a proposal for legislation to strengthen the right to full-time work to the Riksdag in the spring of 2006. The proposal is based on the inquiry’s report on how the right to full-time employment can be strengthened.

    258. The work of the Labour Market Board (AMS) to reduce part-time unemployment still has high priority. Measures have been undertaken, including method development.

    Article 11.1 c — Gender-segregated labour market and entrepreneurship among women: measures to counteract the gender-segregated labour market

    259. One of the main tasks of labour market policy is to counteract a gender-segregated labour market, thus helping promote equality between women and men as well as diversity in working life. Despite some equalisation, the labour market is still gender-segregated, both horizontally and vertically.

    260. To reduce the imbalance between women and men in occupations and sectors in the labour market, the Government appointed an inquiry in early 2003 with the task of examining how gender segregation in the Swedish labour market has changed over the past 30 years and if the major recession of the early 1990s had any effects on gender segregation of the labour market. In its report (SOU 2004:43), the inquiry pointed to some reduction in gender segregation in the labour market in the 1990s but concluded that the Swedish labour market is still strongly segregated. Change is primarily driven by women, who to a greater extent than men have widened their occupational choices and increasingly sought out male-dominated professions that require higher education. The same change cannot be observed in male-dominated sectors with low educational requirements however. Half of all women aged 20–64 work in the public sector, and half in the private sector. Of men in the same age group, about 20 per cent work in the public sector and about 80 per cent in the private sector.

    261. The Labour Market Board has been tasked by the Government with counteracting gender segregation in the labour market. Special funds are allocated each year for this purpose.

    262. The Government feels that more attention must be paid to how employers recruit and promote women and men. In line with this, the Government has urged AMS in its 2006 appropriation directions to work harder to influence employers’ demands for non-traditional labour.

    263. Women’s and men’s differing working conditions are reflected in various labour market policy programmes. AMS has been instructed to take steps in 2006 to integrate the gender equality perspective and break down the gender-segregated labour market in its employment services and programme operations. For 2006, AMS has also been instructed to report how the programme operations are to be designed so that they better correspond to men’s and women’s conditions on the labour market. The report is to show the gender distribution of programmes and measures, the distribution of resources by gender and the distribution of post-programme jobs by gender.

    264. A Government Bill (2004/05:175) on the objectives for policies regarding information technology shows that the IT sector is heavily led and dominated by men. There are also significant wage disparities between women and men in IT-related occupations in both the private and public sectors. Educational programmes in the field of IT also have a distorted gender distribution with men in a clear majority. The Bill proposes that an action plan be drafted containing measures to enhance gender equality in the IT sector. The proposals are currently being considered in the Government Offices.

    Measures to promote entrepreneurship among women

    265. See also Sweden’s fifth report.

    266. The 2004 Labour Market Survey showed that about a quarter of all entrepreneurs in Sweden were women and three quarters men. The proportion of women among business start-ups grew from 25 per cent to 32 per cent during 1995-2004.

    267. Like men, women run companies in all sectors and in all parts of the country. Women running companies are on average younger than men who do – 63 per cent of the women and 57 per cent of men are under 50. Most Swedish companies are service companies, and this is the most common sector in which both women and men run companies. Retail trade is the second most common sector. The Government’s measures to help create more companies and companies in growth in 2002–2004 has included a special measure to strengthen women’s entrepreneurship, including business advisory services oriented towards women and training of business advisers. This measure became permanent in 2005.

    268. Evaluation of measures to strengthen women’s entrepreneurship during the programme period 2002–2004 have been evaluated, and good results were achieved; among other things, the demand for projects offering business advisory services to women has grown. The geographical spread around the country has also improved, the number of applications has grown from year to year, and innovative advice provided by women to women has been a successful way of reaching new target groups among women.

    269. During the 2002–2004 programme period a total of SEK 26.3 million was allocated to particularly promote women’s entrepreneurship. SEK 11 million were allocated in 2005. Measures over and above this include Resource Centres for Women (SEK 51 million in 2005), see below.

    270. There are local and regional resource centres for women at about 130 places around Sweden. The focus of the work includes developing and raising knowledge of women’s entrepreneurship and of how to conduct development projects. Between 2002 and 2004, the aim of the operations was to help improve the gender equality perspective in the previous regional growth agreements and the current regional growth programmes. Starting from 2005, the aim is that the operations are to help improve the conditions and opportunities of women in the regional development programmes and the more operative regional growth programmes.

    271. The public actor ALMI Företagspartner, which provides capital to companies, increased its lending to women in 2005. One reason for this is that ALMI has been offering microloans since 2005.

    Article 11.1.d — Equal pay

    272. See also Sweden’s previous reports.

    273. Official wage statistics have been developed to cover the entire labour market. A method has now been created to enable wage disparities between women and men to be monitored on an ongoing basis. This information is reported annually by Statistics Sweden.

    274. Wage disparities have largely remained the same since the early 1990s. According to wage statistics, women’s pay is on average 84 per cent of men’s pay. If we take into account women’s and men’s differing distribution according to age, level of education, working hours, sector and occupational group, the difference becomes smaller and women earn 92 per cent of what men earn. The factor that explains most of the wage disparity is that of occupation. (All calculations are based on full-time wages).

    Women’s pay as percentage of men’s pay, 1996 and 2001-2004

    Year Public Private Entire sector sector sample

    No stw Stw No stw Stw No stw Stw

    1996 81 95 85 91 83 92

    2000 82 95 84 90 82 92

    2001 82 96 84 90 82 92

    2002 82 95 85 90 83 92

    2003 82 96 85 90 84 92

    2004 83 96 85 91 83 92

    St w = standard weighting that takes into account age, education, sector, working hours (recalculated to full-time for those who work part-time) and professional group.

    Source: Statistics Sweden.

    Work evaluation

    275. A simple, rapid method for evaluating work and wages has been created by the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman, see also Article 2.c.

    276. For more information on work evaluation systems, see the previous report.

    Measures to counteract wage discrimination

    277. See also Article 2.b in this report.

    278. On 1 January 2001, the equal wage provisions of the Equal Opportunities Act were strengthened and clarified. According to the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman, it is primarily in the past two years that the provisions have begun to have clear effect. The provisions have been successful in that many groups of female-dominated occupations, as well as individuals, have had their wages corrected.

    279. From 2006, the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman has been given extra resources for the work to counteract unwarranted wage disparities.

    280. Statistics show that wage disparities in the public sector differ depending on what subsector is being studied. Wage disparities are small in municipalities, but very sizeable in the county councils. This is because a large number of different occupations are being compared to each other, which includes doctors, a category in which many men have high salaries. Their salaries are compared with those of low-paid SEN nurses, almost all of whom are women. In the entire public sector, wage disparities between women and men are somewhat greater than in the private sector. After standard weighting (see above under the table), the opposite applies: wage disparities are greater in the private sector than in the public sector.

    281. On the labour market as a whole, the statistics show an average wage disparity of eight per cent after taking into account various predetermined factors that influence wages. It cannot be said with certainty however that the remaining eight per cent disparity is due to wage discrimination. This can only be determined with the help of the survey and analysis prescribed in the Equal Opportunities Act.

    282. The task of the Mediation Institute is to mediate in labour disputes and promote an efficient wage formation process. The Institute is responsible for official wage statistics and publishes an annual report on wage trends with a chapter that analyses wage trends from a gender perspective.

    283. Wage formation is an issue for employers and trade unions. The MI was therefore tasked in its 2003 and 2004 appropriation directions with pointing out, in its contacts with parties negotiating new agreements, the importance of constructing central agreements in such a way that they facilitate the work of the local parties to achieve gender equal pay.

    284. At the request of the MI, Statistics Sweden has examined (for 2003) whether the amendments to the Equal Opportunities Act have had any effect that can be seen in the statistics. The study examined whether wage disparities between women and men carrying out the same work have been reduced as a consequence of the amendments to the Equal Opportunities Act. The groups studied were in municipalities, county councils and a few government authorities. Conclusions that could be drawn included the following. It is generally not possible to see any clear signs of wage discrimination in the public sector; women and men largely have the same pay for the same work; most wage disparities highlighted in public debate and often described as wage discrimination involve different occupations.

    285. In order to reduce structural wage disparities between women and men in the public sector, the Government has proposed in its 2006 Budget Bill that the municipal sector be granted further resources in the next few years. Talks will be held with the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, ahead of the next round of collective bargaining, to clarify what is necessary to reduce the pay gap between women and men.

    286. In June, the Government submitted an action plan for equal pay (Govt. Communication 2005/06:213) to the Riksdag. The action plan includes those areas that directly or indirectly affect the individual’s wages. This means that it does not only involve the Equal Opportunities Act but also embraces areas such as forms of employment, continuing professional development and the distribution of paid and unpaid work. The long-term aim is an end to all gender discrimination in the labour market.

    Article 11.1.e — Social security: Social insurance

    287. Since 1997, the Swedish Social Insurance Office has carried out a number of surveys, from a gender perspective, of the benefits and compensation that it distributes. Its most recent work was submitted to the Government in a report in 2005. The report raises the need of measures to make the social insurance system more gender-equal. The report presents difficulties and problems associated with processing social insurance cases, primarily those benefits associated with sickness insurance.

    288. To ensure that sickness insurance cases are processed in the same way for men and women, the Government has instructed the Social Insurance Office to produce a plan for gender mainstreaming in its practical application of social insurance. The Office is to draw up methods and procedures for how officials should treat individuals, and process sickness insurance cases uniformly and in compliance with the law, regardless of the individual’s gender.

    289. There are major differences between men’s and women’s sickness absence. Women take out 62 per cent of sickness absence days, men 38 per cent. The fall in the number of sickness absence days in recent years has been the same for men as for women. Part-time sickness absence is somewhat more common among women than among men. Thirty-seven per cent of women’s sickness absence was part-time in March 2006; the corresponding figure for men was 32 per cent.

    Care of the elderly

    290. Female relatives, primarily older wives and middle-aged daughters, have increased the amount of unpaid work they do in the care of elderly women and men. Middle-aged male relatives have not increased their amount of such work to the same extent. The Government is of the view that it is important to gender mainstream the area and analyse the possible impact of a greater burden of responsibility and work on women’s health and their ability to engage in paid work.

    291. For an account of the Government’s proposed new subsidiary gender equality objective of an equal distribution of unpaid household and care work, see Article 5 in this report.

    292. The number of elderly people in the population has increased, particularly the number of very elderly people. More women than men receive care when they are elderly, because women on average live longer than men. The majority of women live alone towards the end of their lives, while the majority of men live with a partner for their whole lives. Looking at married elderly women and men, women who need help receive a greater degree of publicly funded help than men who need help. This situation also applies when age and degree of ill-health are taken into account, which indicates that different demands are made on female and male relatives, a point that is clear from an inquiry report on jointly financed equalisation in the local government sector (SOU 2003:88).

    293. Equality between women and men in elderly care has been examined in a report on gender equal social services. In 2002, the National Board of Health and Welfare was given the assignment of following up, analysing and reporting gender disparities in the areas of operation of the health and care services and the social services. The assignment was reported in 2004. The report includes proposed measures for better and more individualised statistics, and improved knowledge of the role played by assessments of the need of assistance. Similarly, more knowledge is needed about violence and abuse directed towards elderly women and men.

    294. The Government submitted a national development plan for elderly care (Govt. Bill 2005/06:115) to the Riksdag in March 2006. The plan is intended to provide guidance and financial support for the development of elderly care over a ten-year period. The development plan has been adopted by the Riksdag and becomes law on 1 July 2006.

    Women with disabilities

    295. In its 2005 situation report on the care of the disabled, the National Board of Health and Welfare describes how men with disabilities, to a greater degree than women with disabilities, seem to have active work-oriented help, while women often have help that replaces various types of occupation and work. There is relatively even distribution between women and men of measures under the Act Concerning Support and Service to Persons with Certain Functional Impairments, apart from the measures of contact person, residential arrangements for adults and daily activity, where men are in the majority. More men are also granted assistance benefit under the Assistance Benefit Act. More women than men are granted home help services, but more men than women have been granted housing with special assistance under the Social Services Act.

    296. Based on the report on gender equal social services (see above under Care of the elderly under this Article), the National Board of Health and Welfare was given the task of reporting what measures it has undertaken to support gender mainstreaming of social services and what effects this has had. The report is to cover policy for the disabled, elderly policy and social services policy. The county administrative boards are also to report how the gender perspective has been mainstreamed into their supervision.

    297. Since July 2004, a public committee (S 2004:06) has had a government assignment to carry out a survey of personal assistance to certain persons with functional impairments. The committee is to mainstream a gender equality perspective into its work.

    298. For more information on the work to combat discrimination of disabled women and men, girls and boys, please see Articles 2.b and 2.c of this report.

    Article 11.1.f — Working life

    299. See also Sweden’s previous reports and Article 2.b of this report.

    300. Up to 2003, the Work Environment Authority worked, on the mandate of the Government, in accordance with a specially produced strategy designed to take women’s and men’s differing work conditions into account. A follow-up of the strategy conducted in the autumn of 2005 indicated that it had not had the desired effect. The Work Environment Authority therefore intends to develop other policy instruments, such as internal rules for inspection, under which the differing working conditions of women and men will be addressed. The idea is that the instructions will be made more specific. The development work is to be completed in 2006.

    301. The Institute of Working Life began its research project, Gender and Work, in 1999, and the final report was published in 2005. It clearly shows that there is still gender segregation in working life and that change is slow. Even if women do the same work as men at a workplace, their total workload can be higher than the men’s.

    Article 11.2 — Elimination of discrimination against women due to marriage or maternity

    302. See also Articles 2, 4 and 5 in this report. The regulations for maternity benefit and temporary parental benefit have been described in previous reports.

    303. Central to Swedish welfare and gender equality policy is the principle that women and men should not have to choose between work and family. Parental insurance, childcare and care for the elderly have been very important in ensuring that Sweden has a high level of women’s participation in the workforce and a high birth rate.

    304. Swedish parental insurance has the objective of giving both parents the opportunity of combining work or studies with parenthood.

    305. Along with the Government’s work to make it easier for parents to combine work with family life, changes have been made in the Parental Leave Act (1995:584), which came into force on 1 July 2001. The aim of the changes is to strengthen the position of employees when they go on leave, and to give employees more influence over their working hours.

    Article 11.3

    306. Nothing new to report.

    Article 12 — Health and medical services

    307. See also Sweden’s previous reports.

    Article 12.1

    308. The overarching objectives of gender equality work in the care sector require continuing professional development among health care staff to provide knowledge about the differing circumstances of women and men. The gender equality perspective is also to be mainstreamed into overarching formulations of objectives and policies.

    309. In October 2005, the National Institute for Public Health presented its Public Health Report 2005 (S2005/7557/FH), which shows trends in a number of indicators measuring the most important factors that affect public health. The gender equality perspective is an important starting point in the report’s analysis. The report finds that there are wide disparities in women’s and men’s health. Women suffer to a greater extent from stress-related illness and use the health services, consume medication and go on sick leave considerably more than men do. However, men’s mortality rates are higher than women’s in all age groups, primarily as a result of higher mortality from cardiovascular disease, injury and alcohol-related diseases. These differences in health cannot be explained by biological differences alone but are greatly dependent on the different social and economic circumstances of the sexes.

    310. A report from the National Board of Health and Welfare (see below) and the Board’s 2005 Health Report indicate that there are shortcomings in gender equality in the health services. This can involve differing access to advanced medical treatment for women and men, and the formulation of the standard diagnoses used by the health services. Knowledge of these shortcomings is fragmentary however, so the extent of possible differences in how women and men are treated by the health services is largely unknown.

    311. The most important initiative that has led to greater knowledge and awareness of gender-related differences in the access to health services is the assignment given by the Government to the National Board of Health and Welfare in June 2002. The assignment was reported in March 2004 through a report on gender equal care. The report shows that there are still some shortcomings in knowledge of gender equality-related problems and of treatment practices with respect to the differing needs of women and men. One example is access to some areas of highly specialised medicine, where men have more access to expensive, advanced treatment such as bypass surgery and cataract operations. Expensive medical technology and medication also spread most quickly to middle-aged men.

    312. The Government intends to continue to work for greater dissemination of information on the importance of mainstreaming a gender perspective into the work of the health services. Initiatives have also been undertaken to raise knowledge of women’s and men’s access to medical treatment, inter alia through assignments to the authorities responsible.

    313. As part of the Government’s follow up of the National Board of Health and Welfare’s report on gender equal care, in 2005 the Government gave the Medical Products Agency the assignment of analysing how any gender-specific differences are assessed and dealt with during the drug approval procedure. The report submitted in December 2005 shows that women are well represented in clinical drug trials, and that it is unusual that there are differences in the effects and side-effects of drugs in women and men. Gender-specific aspects are always evaluated prior to approval of new drugs.

    314. The gender equality perspective is central in public health work. In December 2002, the Government submitted a Bill on public health objectives (2002/03:35), with the aim of taking a more comprehensive grip on public health. The Bill was passed by the Riksdag in April 2003. This Bill established the national overarching objective of good health on equal terms for the entire population. In the Bill, the Government has formulated eleven objective areas for national work, and the gender perspective permeates all of these areas.

    315. The 2005 Public Health Report is the most important basis for the Government Communication on public health policy for equal health and sustainable growth (Govt. Communication 2005/06:205), which describes developments in the eleven public health policy objectives. It was submitted to the Riksdag by the Government at the end of May 2006. One of the important aspects described is the interplay between gender equality work and developments in men’s and women’s health within the eleven objectives. It also describes steps taken in each objective, where differences between women and men have particularly been taken into account.

    316. On the instructions of the Government, in 2005 the National Institute for Public Health carried out a more in-depth analysis of public health policy from a gender equality perspective. The results have been reported to the Government. The reports follow the eleven objectives of public health policy. In all objectives, there are issues that are clearly gender-related, ranging from structural impediments to women’s influence in politics and business, to differing sensitivity to environmental toxins.

    317. The Government has taken steps to improve areas such as sex education in schools, contraceptive advisory centres for young people, antenatal clinics and other advisory services. In May 2005, the Government tasked the National Agency for Education with an overview of the objectives in the various sex education syllabuses for compulsory and upper secondary school.

    318. Sexual and reproductive health is to be the joint responsibility of women and men. Studies however show that individuals of both sexes still expect women to take responsibility for preventing the risk of infection.

    319. In Sweden, HIV is more often diagnosed among men, while the number of reported cases of chlamydia is higher among women. More women than men have themselves tested. Women are also the majority of visitors to contraceptive advice clinics for young people. These clinics initially focused on contraceptive advice and abortion prevention work. Men still make up only ten per cent of their visitors, despite various measures to reach men and make the services more accessible to men.

    Article 12.2 — Maternity welfare

    320. Sweden has extensive and well-functioning antenatal, paediatric and school health services, which has resulted in generally very good health in children and young people. The well baby and antenatal care clinics run by the county councils have a central role in providing support and advice to new parents. The ongoing health work carried out by these clinics has yielded significant improvement in the health of both new mothers and new babies. Sweden has a low infant mortality rate (number of deaths under one year of age per 1,000 live births): 2.4 in 2005.

    321. In 2005, the average age of women and men having their first child was 29 and 31.5 years respectively.

    Article 13 — Eliminating discrimination against women in other areas of the economic and social life of the community

    322. See also Sweden’s previous reports and Articles 11 and 5 of this report.

    323. Each year, the Government reports, in an appendix to its Budget Bill, a follow-up on the distribution of economic resources to women and men.

    324. One of the goals of the national policy on sport is to give women and men, girls and boys the same chance to take part in sporting activity. During the 2003–2006 period, the Government is funding a special measure for children’s and young people’s sport. One of the defined goals of the measure is to strengthen girls’ sporting activity. Thirty-three per cent of local and regional measures in the first year of the measure involved girls’ sport.

    325. The Council of the Swedish Sports Federation is composed of five women and five men. At the 2005 Meeting of the Swedish Sports Federation, its highest governing body elected a female chair for the first time in the Federation’s history.

    Cultural policy

    326. For 2006, all authorities and institutions in the field of cultural policy have been given a clearer gender equality objective: a gender equality and diversity perspective is to be mainstreamed into the work of the entire institution. The aim is to make clear that the gender equality and diversity perspective is an overall operational objective, not a “sideline” to the regular operations. Within certain areas of cultural policy, there have been specific measures to promote gender equality. Below are some examples of measures.

    ­ Steps have been taken to improve conditions for women film-makers. The film agreement that applies for 2006–2010 has the stated objective that support to Swedish film production is to be allocated equally between men and women. No later than one year before the end of the period of this agreement, each sex should be represented by at least 40 per cent in the categories scriptwriter, producer and director, counted as the number of projects receiving support.

    ­ In June 2001, the Government appointed a special working party with the task of producing proposals for how the gender equality perspective can be given greater impact in the work of museums. The working party submitted its report in January 2004. In the 2006 Budget Bill, the Government proposes that SEK 500,000 be allocated to test the possibility of establishing a resource centre for gender equality issues at the museums.

    ­ In March 2004, the Government appointed a committee for gender equality in the area of dramatic art with the task of submitting proposals for how a gender equality perspective can become an uncontested and influential force in the entire field of dramatic art. The committee’s report (SOU 2006:42) was submitted on 28 April 2006.

    ­ As part of the Arts Grants Committee’s analysis of its operating environment, the Committee was tasked in 2005 with carrying out an in-depth analysis of the differences between the economic and social circumstances of male and female artists, and their educational situation. The analysis was reported in October 2005. It shows that the grants and scholarships distributed by the Arts Grants Board in 2002–2004 were equally distributed between women and men.

    Article 14 — Women in rural areas

    Articles 14.1 and 14.2

    327. The following applies to the whole of Article 14. Measures that aim to secure gender equality between women and men in the whole country are reported under the relevant article. For a report on gender equality measures in the Sami community, see Article 2.b.

    328. The current Swedish rural development programme contains measures to promote women’s chances of finding employment and starting businesses in rural areas. The gender equality perspective has also been written into the programme as one of the criteria that counties are to take into account when drafting their regional implementation plans, as well as in the field of education and training. An important aspect of the forthcoming rural development programme for 2007–2013 is support to gender equality in the shape of action and forms of cooperation.

    329. In November 2002, an inquiry was appointed with the task of analysing gender differences in the land-based industries. The inquiry reported its findings in August 2004. As a follow-up of the inquiry’s proposals, the Board of Agriculture and the Board of Fisheries have produced reports describing gender equality in agricultural and fishery policy and policy for rural areas, on the instructions of the Government. One of the conclusions in the Board of Agriculture’s report is that many women in agriculture have gainful employment and have high education, which means that they have more economic independence than they used to.

    330. The Board of Fisheries has produced a report describing gender equality in the fishing industry, on the instructions of the Government. Among the report’s conclusions is that women are not visible in public statistics. In the report, the Board of Fisheries proposed a number of indicators that can be used to clarify differences between women and men in the fishing industry, but also within other sectors.

    331. One of the subsidiary targets of transport policy is a gender-equal transport system, in which the transport system is designed so that it corresponds to women’s as well as men’s transport needs. Women and men are to be given the same opportunities to influence the origin, design and administration of transport systems, and their values are to be accorded equal importance.

    332. The Government has initiated extensive knowledge-building measures on gender equality in the field of transport. Since the 2003 appropriation directions, the traffic agencies (the Swedish Roads Administration, the Swedish Rail Agency, the Swedish Rail Administration, the Swedish Civil Aviation Board, the Swedish Civil Aviation Authority, and the Swedish Maritime Board) as well as the National Public Transport Agency have been required to report an analysis of women’s and men’s use of the transport system and how they are able to influence its development and administration.

    333. At the end of March 2006, the Government submitted a transport policy Bill (2005/06:160) to the Riksdag. Among the Bill’s proposals is a new interim target that all other interim targets in transport policy are to be followed up from a gender equality perspective. An important aspect of implementation of the interim target is to reduce men’s overrepresentation and increase women’s representation. It is clear from studies that boards of decision-making bodies in the transport sector are greatly dominated by men. A new interim target has therefore been established on gender representation; in the senior management groups of the traffic agencies, no gender should have less than 40 per cent representation by 2010.

    Article 15 — Equality before the law

    Articles 15.1-15.4

    334. See Sweden’s previous reports.

    Article 16 — Eliminating discrimination in marriage and family relations

    Article 16.1

    335. See Sweden’s previous reports.

    Article 16.2

    336. See also Sweden’s previous reports.

    337. Legislative changes came into force on 1 May 2004 designed to better protect individuals from forced and early marriage (Govt. Bill 2003/04:48). The reform means that nobody can be married by a Swedish authority before the age of 18 without a special permit. The law also makes clear that child marriages and forced marriages that have been entered into in other countries are not accepted in Sweden.

    338. There is no particular legal provision in Swedish criminal law regarding marriage entered into under duress or involving individuals under the age of 18. The Government therefore decided in December 2005 to direct an inquiry to analyse whether current legislation provides satisfactory protection against child marriage and forced marriage from the viewpoint of criminal law. The findings are to be presented no later than 30 June 2007.

    Appendix 1

    Global development cooperation

    (a) Sweden’s domestic work to promote gender equality and strengthen women’s and girls’ enjoyment of human rights is closely linked to its work in international arenas, including development cooperation. Gender equality policy is the starting point for national and international work. The Government has established gender equality subsidiary objectives for international work. These apply to the work of the Foreign Service. They include the objective that both sexes are to have the same opportunities to enjoy human rights.

    (b) The Government’s policy for global development (Govt. Bill 2002/03:122), whose objective is to promote equitable and sustainable global development, is characterised throughout by two perspectives – a rights perspective and the perspective of poor people on development. Gender equality is a central aspect of the rights perspective. Swedish development cooperation provides support to gender equality in Sweden’s partner countries, i.e. the countries with which Sweden has development cooperation. This work is based on initiatives from cooperation partners at local, regional or global level.

    (c) Below are some examples of Swedish measures in global development cooperation.

    (d) The Statement of Government Policy in September 2005 emphasises that women’s rights and health are to be priorities in development assistance. Women’s and girls’ right to health, including sexual and reproductive health and rights, are a high priority for the Government.

    (e) In late 2005, the Government adopted a policy for Sweden’s international work for sexual and reproductive health and rights. The document, which is the first of its kind, will form the basis of Sweden’s international bilateral, multilateral, operational and normative work. Sweden’s SRHR policy includes a large number of different issues which are all interconnected: gender equality, sex education, attention to vulnerable groups, the right to contraception, safe abortion, maternity care and neonatal care. This work also includes efforts to combat HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmissible diseases, as well as the work to combat prostitution and trafficking in human beings for sexual purposes. Sweden’s SRHR policy also includes work designed to change power structures and question and change ideas of what is seen as male and female sexual behaviour. Sweden has long worked with both young men and young women to discuss issues of sexuality, relationships and gender equality. Sweden will continue to support measures the particular aim of which is to encourage men to take responsibility for gender equality.

    (f) Sweden’s development cooperation work includes measures to abolish harmful customs and practices that are based on a view of women’s and girls’ subordination with respect to men and boys.

    (g) During 2005, the Government and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) worked to produce revised guidelines for the implementation of CEDAW. The material is expected to be ready in mid-2006.

    (h) Sweden has substantially increased the organisational grant for 2004-2007 to the United Nations women’s fund United Nations Development Fund for Women for the work to promote women’s enjoyment of human rights.

    (i) Sweden will continue to work to promote women’s enjoyment of human rights as an integrated part of all its United Nations and international activity, and particularly for the mainstreaming of these issues into all United Nations human rights mechanisms. Sweden has initiated, and hosted, international meetings on female genital mutilation (autumn 2003) and violence in the name of honour (autumn 2004).

    (j) In 2003, the Government adopted a strategy for combating human trafficking through Swedish international development cooperation, Poverty and Trafficking in Human Beings – A strategy for combating trafficking in human beings through Swedish international development cooperation. The strategy comprises an analysis of experiences, causes and needs and of Sweden’s own resources and capabilities for combating human trafficking. It is based on the definition of human trafficking as set out in the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, and focuses on trafficking as a complex global problem that is rooted in poverty, marginalisation, inadequate protection of human rights and discriminatory ideas about the subordination of women and children, as well as in the demand for sexual services from buyers. The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) has been charged with a central role in implementing the strategy in development operations, and in May 2005 submitted a report – Against Trafficking in Human Beings – an Overview of Sida’s Work – on work carried out up until that time, with recommendations for further and intensified work.

    (k) From 1994 to 2004, Sida has contributed over SEK 240 million to projects to combat and prevent trafficking in human beings, especially for sexual purposes, concerning women and children, mainly in Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa.

    (l) With regard to political rights, the Government provides grants inter alia through the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance to a number of measures to support women’s right to participate in decision-making, including the right to stand for elected political posts, join political parties and vote.

    (m) With regard to education, the Swedish Government supports the global initiative Education for All — Fast Track Initiative to promote women’s and girls’ right to education and the fulfilment of Millennium Development Goals 2 and 3.

    Appendix 2

    Sweden’s work to implement United Nations Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security

    (a) A working group was created in the government offices in 2004 to intensify the Swedish Government’s work to implement United Nations Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security (SCR 1325). One of the working group’s main tasks has been to draw up a national action plan for the Government’s work on SCR 1325.

    (b) The national action plan will focus on implementation at three levels: national level, European Union level and United Nations level. Measures will also be undertaken in other regional organisations, such as Nordic cooperation and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The action plan will also contain measures in both main areas of the resolution: strengthening women as actors and protecting women as victims, during and after armed conflict. Special importance is attached to women as actors and as active forces with experiences, knowledge and interests. The action plan will be adopted in June 2006 and applies for 2006–2008.

    (c) Parallel with development of the action plan, a number of concrete activities have been initiated, developed or implemented at national, regional and global level. They include e.g. measures to raise the number of women in decision-making capacities and institutions in a post-conflict situation, reinforced measures to prevent sexual violence against women during and after armed conflict, and measures to include a clear gender perspective in work to promote the judicial system in post-conflict countries. Some measures have been implemented by, or within the framework of, the interdepartmental working group, while others are the result of various agencies’ attempts to implement SCR 1325 in their own operations. These include the development partnership Gender Force, which is being implemented by the Armed Forces, the Police, the Swedish Rescue Services Agency, the Association of Military Officers in Sweden and the Swedish Women’s Voluntary Defence Service. The aims of the project include mainstreaming a gender equality perspective into the operations and increasing the proportion of women participating in peace-building measures and disaster and development assistance measures.

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