Source: Statistics Sweden.

164.It is still more common for women to work part-time than men. The reasons why women and men work part-time are similar, primarily being due to not having a suitable full-time work. However, it is considerably more common for women to state caring for children or work being too physically or mentally demanding as a reason for working part-time. For men, it is more common to state studies or having several jobs as a reason for working part-time.

165.Since 2012, the number of underemployed part-time workers, that is, employees reporting that they would wish to work more hours, has fallen by 81 000. This reduction has been particularly evident among women (62 000).

166.Initiatives are being taken for full-time work to be an option. The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions and the Swedish Municipal Workers’ Union, which organise many employees within welfare professions and have 80 percent female membership, are carrying out a joint project to make full-time work the norm within care and nursing.


167.In 2015 the regulations regarding when general temporary employment is converted into permanent employment in the Employment Protection Act (SFS 1982:80) was amended. Through the changes the employers’ possibilities to use temporary upon permanent employment for a long period of time was limited.

168.The number of employees on the Swedish labour market aged 20–64 increased by 243 000 between 2015 and 2018. The entire net increase consisted of an increase of permanent employment. The number of people in temporary employment fell during the same period by more than 13 000, of whom 6 200 were women and 7 000 were men.

169.The positive changes in the number of employees in permanent and temporary employment have taken place during a period of a successively stronger economy and greater demand for workers. It is therefore hard to establish the extent to which changes in legislation has had any effect. A longer economic cycle will probably be needed in order to determine whether the change in legislation has contributed towards transitions from temporary to permanent employment.


170.On 1 January 2016, the number of days in the parental benefit scheme which is reserved to a parent increased from 60 to 90 days. The aim of the additional reserved days for each parent is to increase gender equality between parents when it comes to the division of house-and childcare work. The results of the change have been followed-up by the Swedish Social Insurance Agency and the results show an increase in men’s use of parental benefit during the first two years of children’s lives, with a corresponding reduction for women. The proportion of men taking at least 90 days of parental leave during the first two years of children’s lives rose from 36 percent to 40 percent. These changes were mainly observed in those groups that have completed upper secondary education but do not have any education at university level. Men with high incomes already took more than 90 days on average. Overall, the amount of leave taken by men rose by 6.7 days and fell by 12.4 days for women. Overall, the amount of leave taken by men rose by 6.7 days and fell by 12.4 days for women.

171.‘Double days’ are an opportunity for parents to take up to 30 days of parental benefit together during the first year of a child’s life and was introduced in 2012. A report from the Swedish Social Insurance Inspectorate notes that fathers with lower levels of income and education and fathers in couples where both parents were born abroad – where the use of parental benefit is often low – were more likely to use ‘double days’ than other fathers.

172.The Government appointed an inquiry in 2016 to conduct a review of parental insurance. In December 2017, the inquiry proposed several actions to achieve a more gender equal distribution of parental benefit and parental leave. The proposal, which came into force on 1 July 2019, means that more family configurations are included in the opportunities to care for a child using parental benefit. The inquiry’s other proposals are being prepared within the Government Offices.

173.Since 2016, the Swedish Social Insurance Agency is assigned in its annual appropriation directive to promote gender equal use of parental benefit and temporary parental benefit. The work includes informing parents about the regulations of parental insurance including campaigns encouraging parents to share their parental leave equally.

174.Parental benefit rules were changed on 1 January 2019. The change makes it possible for the parent who is not pregnant to also receive parental benefit and take leave from work for prenatal visits, etc. This change aims to provide better conditions for parents to establish more equal parental responsibilities early on.

Question 18

175.As part of the changes made to the Discrimination Act on 1 January 2017, the requirement for employers to promote an equal gender distribution in management positions has been made clearer. The Government hopes that the change can better support employers’ work towards equal gender distributions in management positions.

176.The Swedish Corporate Governance Board, which is responsible for the Swedish code of conduct for corporate governance, has had stated ambition levels since 2014 that each gender should have at least a 40 percent share after the 2020 annual general meetings.

177.The Government has a goal of an equal gender distribution on the boards of companies that are partly or fully state-owned. In accordance with the state ownership policy, these boards should consist of at least 40 percent women and men. According to the policy, the Government shall be a role model in gender equality work and shall work actively with gender equality issues in its operations, not least when making appointments at management level.

178.According to the Second Swedish National Pension Fund’s women’s index for 2019, the proportion of women in the management teams of listed companies rose for the ninth year running to 24.0 percent. Since 2013, the proportion of women on the boards of listed companies has increased by 11.6 percentage points to 34.0 percent. The proportion of female board chairs and Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) is also growing, albeit slowly. For the first time, more than 10 percent of listed companies’ board chairs were women (10.2 percent, an increase from 8.8 percent). In terms of CEOs, 9.0 percent were women (an increase from 8.4 percent). Newly elected women on boards are younger than their male counterparts, and female board members hold on average more board positions than male board members.

179.New regulations for active measures in the Discrimination Act apply from 1 January 2017 and include a new feature, that all grounds for discrimination are covered by the requirements for active measures. Among other things, the law states that employers should have operational guidelines and routines to prevent harassment or sexual harassment. The employer should also have routines to prevent reprisals.

180.The Equality Ombudsman and the Swedish Work Environment Authority have been assigned with producing a joint digital information platform with support for employers in their work to prevent sexual harassment in working life. The Ombudsman has also been assigned to carry out specific knowledge-boosting and supervisory initiatives directed to employers, employer organisations and trade unions in connection with labour inspections. In 2019, the Authority and the Ombudsman were given continued assignments to work to devise information and to raise awareness on active measures and victimisation, including work to combat sexual harassment in cooperation with the Swedish Gender Equality Agency.

181.Those who have been subject to discrimination or reprisals and those whose employers have not met the obligations to investigate and act against harassment or sexual harassment, or whose employers have not done enough to prevent harassment and sexual harassment, can report this to the Equality Ombudsman.

182.Since 1 March 2016, the Ombudsman has brought action in relation to complaints from one woman in which the Ombudsman has alleged sexual harassment (discrimination on the grounds of gender).

183.1. The Ombudsman brought action against a company whose chief executive officer (CEO) had subjected a women employee to sexual harassment at a Christmas party. The company was ordered to pay the complainant SEK 50 000 in damages.

184.The Ombudsman has brought action in three cases in 2015 relating to sexual harassment.

1.Café. Action brought in 2015 regarding gender as a ground for discrimination (sexual harassment). The employer was ordered to pay the woman SEK 50 000 in damages.

2.Bakery. Action brought in 2015 regarding gender as a ground for discrimination (sexual harassment). The employer was ordered to pay the woman SEK 50 000 in damages.

3.Restaurant. Action brought in 2015 regarding gender as a ground for discrimination (sexual harassment). The case resulted in a settlement. The woman was granted SEK 80 000 in damages.

185.During 2018 and 2019, the Swedish Gender Equality Agency was tasked with gathering and disseminating knowledge about sexual harassment. The assignment was reported on in November 2019, and as a result the Agency developed a website where employers and training providers, as well as children and adults who have been subjected to sexual harassment, can find information about legislation, regulations and obligations, and about whom to contact in the event of being subjected to sexual harassment.

186.Internationally, Sweden works actively to combat sexual harassment including within the development aid sector.


Question 19


187.On 17 December 2015, the Government decided on a strategy for physical health 2016–2020 which has a broad focus and aims to prevent mental ill-health. The number of girls aged 15 to 17 who have been treated for depression and anxiety within psychiatry for children and young people tripled between 2006 and 2016. Girls and women are affected by mental ill-health to a greater degree, this means that they are an important group in the work to implement the strategy.

188.Care and support for people with abuse and addiction problems are a joint responsibility for regions and municipalities. Since 1 July 2013, regions have been obliged to enter into agreements on cooperation regarding people with alcohol, narcotics, medication and doping abuse issues. Older people also need access to care for abuse and addiction issues and identifying ways of offering interventions – particularly to older women – is a challenge within health and social care. Taking a holistic viewpoint and coordinating efforts is of great importance in order not to miss out on any specific group.

189.One of the central components to achieve the Government’s objectives and to support the implementation of the Government’s strategy within the field of mental health for 2016–2020 is continued agreements on cooperation with the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions. The Government’s funding within these agreements has mostly been used to improve accessibility and cooperation, and for staff skills development. The results show local and regional variations. This is often seen as positive but has the potential to increase the risk of greater inequality within mental health. There is a real need for development work within the field of mental health, and continued long-term initiatives are therefore important.

190.The Government also allocates funding to voluntary organisations working within the field of mental health through remits to the Public Health Agency of Sweden and the National Board of Health and Welfare.


191.Women have higher levels of sick leave than men. This is particularly true of sick leave due to psychiatric diagnoses. Of the women on sick leave, around 53 percent had a psychiatric diagnosis. The corresponding figure for men was approximately 40 percent. The largest diagnosis group for both women and men can be characterised by milder or moderate mental ill-health, e.g. moderate depression.

192.An overview of current knowledge from the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working life and Welfare, on mental ill-health, working life and sick leave shows that there is a scientific link between work, mental ill-health and sick leave and. risk factors in working life include mentally strenuous work, high demands, low control, an imbalance between effort and reward, and role conflicts. The knowledge overview shows that the effect on mental health is similar when women and men are exposed to the same factors at work.

193.The Swedish Work Environment Authority has produced a report on women’s work environment as a result of growing work-related ill-health within female-dominated sectors. The work environment, combined with physical and mental workloads, are currently the main reasons for women’s work-related ill-health. Women work to a large extent in what are known as contact professions such as schools, care and nursing. The proportion of employees who feel that they have strenuous jobs with high demands and little control is highest within the contact professions.

194.Another factor that can affect women’s sick leave is their dual roles as workers and having main responsibility for the family. The results of two studies from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency and the Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy provide some support for this. Among other things, the Institute’s study shows that having a family increases women’s sick leave compared to men’s, and that this difference remains if 16 years after the birth of the first child.

195.The Government has commissioned the Swedish Agency for Public Management with analysing government agencies’ work to prevent and reduce sick leave among women employed by the state, since they are sick listed twice as much as men employed by the state. The report will be submitted on 31 May 2020.

196.The Riksdag decided in 2017 on a new objective and a new direction for the disability policy. Individual support and solutions for the individual’s independence are one of four prioritised areas for the implementation that the work shall be directed towards.

197.Support for persons with disabilities are regulated by the Act on Support and Service for Persons with Certain Functional Impairments (LSS) and the Swedish Social Services Act (SoL). The proportion of women granted support in accordance with LSS is somewhat lower (41 percent) than the proportion of men (59 percent). The proportion of men is higher than the proportion of women within every type of support. The differences between the genders are greatest among younger people, and in 2017 32 percent of support measures in the 0–12 age range were granted to girls. The Government decided in 2016 on an inquiry to review the initiatives within LSS and assistance benefits in order to deliver more effective support in accordance with LSS. The report from the inquiry is currently being considered within the Government Offices.

198.Support in accordance with SoL include housing support, home care services, contact persons, special housing and day activities. In October 2016, 52 200 people aged 0–64 received one or more support measure in accordance with SoL. Support in the home in the form of housing support was the most common. Almost 21 000 people received this support, with women accounting for 51 percent. Housing support aims to support the individual in day-to-day life, in both practical and social terms, and is commonly directed at those with mental disabilities living in their own homes.

199.Other forms of support include mobility services in accordance with the Swedish Mobility Service Act). In 2018, 315 000 people had a mobility service permit. Of these, 38 percent were men and 62 percent were women.

200.A car allowance is an important benefit for encouraging participation in society for persons with disabilities. In 2018, 57 percent of those who were granted a car allowance were men and 43 percent were women. In 2018, a total of SEK 93 928 000 was paid in car allowances, of which 36 percent was paid to women and 64 percent to men, according to information from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency.

201.A new social insurance benefit, the additional cost allowance, was introduced on 1 January 2019. This is an allowance for people whose functional capacity has been reduced before the age of 65, and whose reduction in functional capacity can be assumed to last for at least a year. The allowance can also be disbursed to parents whose child has a reduction capacity that can be assumed to last at least for six months. In order to be eligible for additional cost allowance, the person most have additional expenses related to the disability. Since this benefit is relatively new, there are no statistics broken down by gender. In December 2018, almost 62 000 people received disability allowance which successively will be replaced by the additional cost allowance. 53 percent were women and 47 percent were men.

202.In Sweden, there is no specific legislation regarding forced institutionalisation for persons with intellectual and/or psychosocial disabilities. Psychiatric forced institutionalisation can be applied under certain circumstances, mainly with the support of the Swedish Act on Compulsory Psychiatric Care (LPT) and the Swedish Act on Forensic Psychiatric Care (LRV). Both LPT and LRV include material and procedural rules that meet basic legal security requirements, such as requirements for predictability and the opportunity for legal control. When as an exception care is provided without consent but with the support of the law, this care naturally includes quality requirements, including a requirement for science and proven experience.

203.If someone is admitted to a medical institution against their will, a special doctor’s certificate – a care certificate – is required. The care certificate must be written in connection with an examination by a registered doctor. For forced institutionalisation to occur, three conditions must be met, and this must be stated on the care certificate. First, the individual must be suffering from serious mental health problems. Second, the individual must have an absolute need for psychiatric care around the clock due to his or her mental condition and personal circumstances. This must take place at a medical institution. The third criterion is that the individual opposes care for his or her mental health condition or is so ill that he or she is unable to assess his or her need for care. Forced institutionalisation must not be applied in cases relating only to a learning disability. There is no legal support for applying forced institutionalisation to individuals with psychosocial difficulties. As a rule, these individuals instead receive the care and nursing they need through initiatives such as living in group accommodation once they have reached the age of 18.

Women facing intersectional discrimination

Question 20

204.The Equality Ombudsman ensures compliance with the Discrimination Act, and states in its 2019 annual report that it is not uncommon for those submitting complaints to say that the discrimination they have experienced has been linked to multiple grounds of discrimination.

205.Women’s exposure to various forms of racism is acknowledged within the framework of the Government’s national plan to combat racism, similar forms of hostility and hate crimes. Assignment in the plan should apply a gender equality perspective. For example, anti-Gypsyism affects the rights of children and women, which is why several of the initiatives carried out for the inclusion of Roma focus on this.

206.Women with disabilities are often in a particularly vulnerable situation compared with the population in general, and the new national goal for the disability policy area states that the policy should contribute towards greater gender equality.

207.Women who are migrants are in a vulnerable situation. The Government has provided funding for civil society organizations (including non-formal adult education) and municipalities to be able to offer meaningful activities for women and men seeking asylum, such as information about the Swedish society and language courses.

208.The municipalities are responsible for offering civic orientation courses to newly arrived immigrants. From 2020, the courses have been extended to at least 100 hours of civic orientation instead of the former level of at least 60 hours. The Government has also tasked a County Administrative Board with developing the training material used within civic orientation for a greater focus on gender equality and human rights.

209.During 2018–2022, the Government will make it easier for asylum seekers and newly arrived immigrants on parental leave to continue developing their knowledge of Swedish language during the leave. The Government has also tasked a special investigator to analyse differences in student completion rates in Swedish language courses for men and women, and proposals should be submitted on how women in particular can be motivated and supported to continue their studies and their introduction in the labour market (ToR 2019:65). The Government has decided that from 2020 onwards, study associations will also receive funding for measures in Swedish-language skills. The main target group is foreign-born women with children.

210.The Swedish Public Employment Service cooperates locally with employers, municipalities and other actors, for example in what are known as the local job tracks. According to the Delegation for the Employment of Young People and Newly Arrived Migrants, there were 493 local jobs tracks with approximately 6 300 participants at the end of 2018. The proportions of female and male participants were 56 percent and 44 percent respectively. The gender distribution varies in different industries and job tracks.

211.The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth has been tasked during the period 2018–2021 with promoting the establishment of foreign-born women, for example by supporting initiatives that help foreign-born women to start and run their own companies. The Swedish Forest Agency and various other government agencies were also tasked in 2017 with contributing towards more and simpler routes into jobs in the green industries.

212.Research shows that subsidised employment that is correctly designed is an effective tool for getting unemployed people into work. During the 2014–2018, the Government introduced so-called “extra jobs” and “introduction jobs”. These subsidised employments are considered important in order for long-term unemployed and newly arrived immigrants to get a job and connections to the labour market.

213.Since 2018, study associations have been allocated targeted funding for outreach and motivational initiatives directed at foreign-born women. The initiative runs until 2020. The initiative aims to increase participants’ self-confidence, offer opportunities to complement basic knowledge in various knowledge areas, and – through guidance discussions – show possible ways into various forms of studies within e.g. non-formal adult education, municipal adult education and vocational education.

214.Adult education is of great importance for newly arrived women and men to learn Swedish and complement their previous education. In 2015, the Government initiated a measure called the “knowledge boost” and increased the number of study places within different forms of education for adults. This “knowledge boost” is on-going.

215.During 2016–2019, the Government also carried out a specific initiative of vocational courses at the Swedish Folk High Schools in occupations where there are labour shortages. Until 2018, more than 64 percent of the participants were women and around 75 percent were foreign-born.

216.A new legal framework for the introduction programme for newly arrived immigrants entered into force on 1 January 2018. In January 2018 an education and training obligation was introduced and open for all newly arrived immigrants who attend the Public Employment Service’s introduction programme.

Question 21


217.The Swedish Migration Agency works actively to ensure equal treatment of all applicants, regardless of their gender, gender expression and sexual orientation, and regardless of whether the applicant is a child or an adult. This work is guided by the Agency’s action plan for equal treatment 2019–2020.

218.In the recently revised ordinance (2019:502) with the instruction to the Swedish Migration Agency, the Government establishes that the Agency shall gender mainstream and design its operations so that gender equal conditions for women and men are achieved. The Agency does this by providing applicants with information about gender equality and that all forms of violence are forbidden, including violence within marriage and corporal punishment of children. The Agency can to a certain extent provide sheltered housing which is otherwise primarily provided by the social services.

219.Thematic quality monitoring of grounds for asylum was carried out in 2016, and in 2017 a legal position was taken regarding the investigation and assessment of persecution on the grounds of gender in relation to women.

220.The Swedish Police Authority has not taken any specific measures following the reintroduction of internal border controls as regards asylum seekers. Asylum seekers at the controls are handled in accordance with the rules that otherwise apply. The investigation and assessment of women’s asylum applications is carried out by the Swedish Migration Agency. The Swedish Police are only responsible for the initial parts of an investigation, i.e. obtaining identity details and establishing that the person is applying for asylum.


221.Migrant women and girl’s vulnerability is a prioritised matter for the Government and the Swedish Migration Agency works in accordance with its instruction with gender mainstreaming in its design of operations so that gender equal conditions for women and men are achieved. There are ongoing pilot projects with tailored information only for women, and the outcome of these projects will be followed up. The Agency’s gender mainstreaming work has led to greater awareness of the importance of avoiding operations being based on, and reproducing, the idea of males being the prevailing norm in the asylum process.

222.Work to improve discovering vulnerability to violence and instances of violence among asylum seekers is ongoing within the Agency. See the response to question 12.


223.The Swedish Agency for Public Management has been assigned by the Government to evaluate the gender mainstreaming work carried out by government agencies, including the Swedish Migration Agency. Key successes in the work with the Swedish Migration Agency’s action plan for gender mainstreaming include a generally increased level of knowledge about gender equality and greater awareness of gender equality problems within operations and how these can be countered. The case management process has become more individualised as it emerged that family case management can lead to gender equality problems not being discovered. The action plan has also resulted in increased knowledge about women’s grounds for asylum, clearer legal support when investigating and assessing persecution on the grounds of gender, and additional information being provided to applicants on gender equality and gender-related violence, within both asylum assessment and processing permit applications. See also the answer to question nr 7.


224.Information about actions to ensure the social integration refugees and asylum-seeking women can be found under question 20.


225.Since 2016, the governmental agency the Living History Forum has been responsible for coordinating and following up on the national plan to combat racism, similar forms of hostility and hate crimes. A number of initiatives have been carried out since 2016 within the framework of the plan, in order to improve knowledge about racism, to improve the conditions for civil society to take part in the work to combat racism, to prevent racism and similar forms of hostility online, and to strengthen the work within the justice system. These initiatives are targeted at both racism in general and specific forms of racism.


226.Investigation and prosecution of hate crimes is a particularly prioritised area within the Swedish Prosecution Authority, and one of the Authority’s development centres has specific responsibility for method development, monitoring and education on hate crimes. Each prosecution office has one or more appointed prosecutors with specific responsibility for the operational work with hate crimes. These prosecutors receive coordinated support from the development centre, such as information about development of the law within the area, guiding legal memos and an annual conference at which the prosecutors can discuss and share their experiences from handling cases of hate crimes. The Swedish Prosecution Authority has also appointed an area specialist on hate crime, in order to further strengthen the Authority’s work with hate crimes. The Authority participates in the inter-agency collaboration against racism, xenophobia and hate crimes which is coordinated by the Living History Forum.

227.The Swedish Police have raised their level of ambition regarding hate crimes and other crimes that threaten fundamental rights and freedoms. A national contact point has been set up and so-called democracy and anti-hate crime groups have been established in the three metropolitan police regions. Other police regions shall have an equivalent capacity. In addition to investigating suspected offences, the allocated resources shall work with victims of crime, internal training, collaboration and other security- and confidence-building measures. As of 2018, the Swedish Police Authority is allocating special funding to reinforce on-going work to increase prosecutions of hate crimes, coordination, strategic work, monitoring and follow up.

228.Training on hate crimes is a compulsory part of the basic training for police officers. There is also internal online training available to all police employees. The Swedish Police have also procured training from Linnaeus University in Växjö that provides more in-depth knowledge about the underlying causes of racism, hate crimes and crimes that threaten the free formation of opinion.

229.The police are also intensifying their action to address IT-related crime, including hate crimes. Further expansion of the national resource is on the way, and decisions have been taken to set up regional IT crime centres in the seven police regions. These operations are now being built up and will be part of investigative work concerning these crimes.

230.The Swedish Police will continue to develop and improve work to combat hate crime. In its appropriation directive for 2020, the Swedish Police were given a new assignment in this area. The report shall include a description of how cooperation with government agencies and organisations is carried out, and how to ensure the effectiveness of dialogue with groups that are subjected to this type of crime.

Question 22

231.During 2016–2019, the Government issued a large number of assignments on Roma inclusion to government agencies. The National Board of Health and Welfare was assigned to train social workers to develop their working methods to be more welcoming and inclusive. In this work, the Board was instructed to particularly involve Roma women in this work. The Swedish Public Employment Service was assigned to initiate dialogues with employers to improve knowledge about the challenges on the labour market experienced by many Roma. Within the framework of its assignment, the Service was instructed to improve women’s opportunities for benefiting from these measures. Also, the Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil Society was tasked with allocating government grants to organisations that carry out health promotion initiatives aimed at Roma, educating Roma organisations on issues such as organisational techniques, and arranging exchanges of experiences between these and non-Roma organisations. In its implementation of the assignment, the Agency should particularly encourage the participation of Roma girls and women.

232.Stockholm County Administrative Board has a continued assignment to coordinate, support and monitor the strategy for Roma inclusion during the period 2020–2023. All aspects of this work shall be carried out in dialogue with Roma representatives, including Roma women and young Roma. The work shall include a gender equality perspective.

233.The Sami Parliament’s gender equality programme is a steering document for the Sami Parliament’s operations and awarding grants. Among other measures, the Sami Parliament places requirements on grants recipients to include gender equality plans. The Sami Parliament has noted in a report to the Government that there is a lack of knowledge about gender equality within Sami society, and that there is a need to map this area. In June 2019, the Government commissioned and financed a special initiative to map and analyse Sami society from a gender equality perspective. The mapping and analysis will form the basis for any proposed measures that the Sami Parliament deems to be required where there are knowledge gaps and development needs.

234.The Government will work towards ratifying ILO convention 169. However, this is ultimately an issue for the Riksdag to decide on.

Climate change

Question 23

a, b.

235.In 2019, the Government initiated work with developing a gender equality strategy for climate work. This involved the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, the Swedish Energy Agency and the Swedish Gender Equality Agency carrying out a preliminary study on a gender equality strategy for Sweden’s implementation of the Paris Agreement.

236.In addition, the Swedish Energy Agency has been instructed to integrate a gender equality perspective into its operations and to promote gender equality when allocating funding for research and innovation work.

237.The Government prioritises the integration of gender equality into climate and environmental work in international contexts. Gender equality, the environment and climate change are horizontal issues in the Government’s development policy, and 86 percent of the climate-related funding provided by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency during 2015–2018 also promoted gender equality.


238.The Government has long demonstrated a need to strengthen women’s decision making in climate negotiations. Sweden was therefore one of the driving forces behind establishing a Gender Action Plan at COP23 in Bonn, a long-term plan to ensure women’s influence in decisions relating to climate change. Strengthening gender equal representation at national level, including in the environmental field, is one of the Government’s gender equality sub-goals.

239.The Government incorporates a gender equality perspective in its work with sustainable transport. Measures within community planning that promotes walking, cycling and public transport has the potential to decrease gender differences in travelling patterns as men drive cars more often than women, and women probably use public transport somewhat more than men. The Government decided in 2015 on the Ordinance (2015:579) on support for promoting sustainable urban environments, which has also been increased for the period 2018–2029. The support is distributed to municipalities and regions to promote sustainable transport.

240.The Government has tasked a committee with drawing up proposals for amended travel expense deduction rules. The committee’s proposal is that the travel expense deduction will be abolished in its existing form, and that the deduction will be replaced by a distance-based and transport-neutral tax reduction for longer commutes between home and the workplace (SOU 2019:36). According to the committee, the design of the proposed tax reduction contributes towards the transport policy’s functional objective by providing a transport-neutral tax reduction, which more equally corresponds to both women’s and men’s transport needs. The proposal is being prepared by the Government Offices.

241.On 1 July 2018, a bonus-malus system was introduced for new light vehicles with the main motivation of increasing the proportion of more environmentally adapted vehicles with lower carbon dioxide emissions. The system is a complement to the more general fuel taxes and contributes towards reducing the transport sector’s dependence on oil and its climate impact. Men own almost two thirds of the cars owned by individuals, and an increase in vehicle tax will affect men more than women. In general, women own vehicles with lower average emissions. Overall, this means that the cost of the bonus-malus system is expected to be lower for women than for men.

242.The financial market regulations are mostly governed by EU directives. Where possible the Government strives to incorporate a gender equality perspective and to increase understanding and awareness of gender equality aspects within the area. Among other things, there are reporting requirements for the government agencies which aim to highlight and consider gender equality aspects within the area of financial markets. In addition, e.g. the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority shall report on the work that has been carried out in accordance with Agenda 2030 and how the financial system has contributed towards sustainable development. This reporting shall relate to the implementation of the recommendations regarding the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures.

Marriage and family relations

Question 24

243.The best interests of the child shall be of decisive importance for all decisions on custody, residence and contact rights. Since 2006, the wording of the law has explicitly stated that when assessing what is best for the child, the risk of the child or another family member being subjected to abuse or of the child being unlawfully removed or retained, or otherwise suffering significant harm, should be taken into particular account. The court and the social welfare committee must always consider whether there is a risk that the child will come to harm, and in such a case must always carry out a risk assessment. This shall be based on previous investigations and previous events or other relevant circumstances.

244.In 2014, an inquiry was appointed with the remit of evaluating the 2006 reform of the Swedish Parental Code. The inquiry submitted its report in 2017(SOU 2017:6). The inquiry shows that social welfare committees and courts carry out risk assessments to a greater extent than before. In 2018, the Family Law and Parental Support Authority was tasked by the Government to develop a manual with case studies for the social welfare committees’ on how to work with risk assessment in cases regarding custody, residence and contact rights. The abovementioned inquiry also proposes actions to strengthen the child’s right to be heard in cases regarding custody, residence and contact rights, as well as new rules on jurisdiction where protected personal data applies. The report from the inquiry is currently being considered by the Swedish Government Offices.

245.The presumption of the Swedish rules on division of property in the event of divorce is two independent and equal individuals living together, both having the ability to support themselves and contribute to the family’s development. As mentioned in Sweden’s eight-nine periodic report, there are however exceptions to these rules on equal division of property, to protect against unreasonable results. For example, there are rules on maintenance between unequal parties and rules on adjustment of the division of property that can be used in these cases.

246.The Judicial Training Academy offers family law courses for judges. These include a two-day in-depth course on the best interests of the child and a two-day in-depth course on particularly difficult cases of custody, residence and relationships.

247.The main role of the Family Law and Parental Support Authority (MFoF) is to conduct and promote knowledge-based work and to convey knowledge sharing within the fields of family law, family advice, parenting support and international adoptions. MFoF is also the Central Authority under the 1993 Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in respect of Intercountry Adoption. The Authority is responsible for the authorisation and supervision of intercountry adoption mediation associations. In addition, the Authority is responsible for producing official statistics. MFoF shall promote the rights of the child including gender equality and equal parenting and shall work with relevant government agencies and organisation.

248.In 2016, the Authority reported an action plan to the Government on how it intends to develop its gender mainstreaming work for its operations, in order to contribute towards achieving the gender equality policy objectives. The Authority’s focus during 2017–2018 was mapping and strategic planning. The action plan contains targets to measure effect result and activities within three areas the next few years.

Additional information

Question 25

249.Additional information based on the follow-up letter from CEDAW on 5 September 2018.

250.1. In order to meet its obligations in accordance with international law regarding asylum seekers and refugees, for example the principle of non-refoulement.

251.The principle of non-refoulement is absolute and must always be upheld. This is stated in the Swedish Aliens Act (2005:716). The European Convention is also incorporated into and directly applicable in Swedish law. If someone who has applied for asylum is refused, he or she has the right to appeal the decision in court. After a decision has been heard in court, the Swedish Migration Agency also has an obligation to ensure ex officio that a refusal or expulsion does not contravene the principle of non-refoulement. If new circumstances arise, the person in question can also apply to have his or her grounds for protection reconsidered.

252.In 2019, The Riksdag passed a bill from the Government extending the period of validity for the Temporary Act until 19 July 2021 with the amendment that persons eligible for subsidiary protection shall have the same right to family reunification as refugees. This amendment, which the Swedish Government considered to be desirable from a humanitarian perspective, was implemented as part of the Government taking responsibility for a humane and sustainable migration policy.

253.2. Adopt additional legal support for investigating and assessing women’s grounds for asylum, to ensure that the needs of female asylum seekers and refugees who arrive in the State party are treated as a prioritised problem. Additional information is provided in the answer to question 21a.

Additional information on health.

254.In August, the Government tasked the Public Health Agency of Sweden to develop a national strategy for sexual and reproductive health and rights. Basic starting points when developing the strategy shall be good, equal and gender equal sexual and reproductive health for the entire population with a focus on young people, people with inadequate socioeconomic circumstances, persons with disabilities, people from foreign backgrounds and LGBTQ people. The Agency shall report on the remit to the Government Offices by 30 September 2020.

Additional information on polygamy.

255.Polygamy is not permitted in Sweden, but if the marriage was entered abroad by parties who at the time of the marriage were not Swedish citizens or resident in Sweden, the possibilities to not recognise the marriage are limited. A report from the Swedish Tax Agency from early 2018 shows that there are people registered in Sweden as married to more than one person. In 38 of these cases, more than one spouse was also registered in Sweden. In the summer of 2018, the Government tasked an investigator to submit proposals on how to prevent foreign polygamous marriages in Sweden. The remit also included reporting on the legal consequences that can arise from a foreign polygamous marriage not being permitted to continue in Sweden and how unreasonable consequences for those involved can be avoided. The investigator submitted a report in January 2020. One proposal is that a marriage which has been entered by someone who is already married should not be recognised in Sweden, even when the parties had no connection to Sweden at the time of entering the marriage. However, it should be possible to recognise the marriage if there are exceptional reasons for doing so.