Framework Conditions in Sweden
Generally speaking, Sweden is one of the most gender-egalitarian countries in the world ranking fourth behind Iceland, Finland and Norway. In essence, gender mainstreaming has been implemented in all policy fields, among them education or foreign policy.
Equal Pay Legislation
In 2009, the Discrimination Act has been adopted. This act requires all organisations with more than 25 employees to map wages every three years. This mapping not noly includes an analysis of wage structures, but encompasses also a detailed action plan to promote gender equality within the organisation. Furthermore, in case of discrimination, the employer is obliged to investigate and take measures against the form of discrimination.
In addition, job evaluation should be free from gender bias. In order to realise this approach, four criteria are used to evaluate jobs: knowledge and experience, degree of effort, responsibility and working conditions. Additional factors can also be taken into account, such as physical and mental stress, competence and degree of independence, planning and decision making.
Between 2006 and 2008, the Equlity Ombudsman analysed the approx. 600 companies - covering around 20 per cent of all employees in Sweden - with regard to paying women and men equally. The Ombudsman found significant deficits leading to salary adjustments for 5.200 to 5.800 employees at a cost of around 8 mil. Euros. In 2012, a follow-up analysis has been conducted. In this regard, fines for companies not complying to the equal pay priciple has been put on the agenda.
Sweden has one of the longest periods of parental leave. In total, parents in Sweden are entitled to 480 days of paid parental leave, of which 80 days are reserved for paternal leave that cannot be transferred.
Reconciliation of Family Life and Work
Gender equality is among the high priorities in Sweden. To this end, Sweden has built a large caring infrastructures for child care and schooling. In addition, monthly allowences are transferred to parents for each child to support their efforts caring for their child.