In case you didn’t already know, Sweden has the first feminist government in the world. And this affects the Government’s priorities when it comes to decision-making and resource allocation. And obviously, it affects Swedish culture in the workplace.
So what is this about? It’s a gender equality principle that grants everyone the right to work, achieve a work-life balance, and live without fear of violence and abuse, regardless of their gender.
The Swedish workplace strives to offer everyone equal opportunities regardless of gender. Therefore, respect, open-mindedness, and the ability to accept who they are are what you are most likely to encounter when you work in Sweden.
If you are a man, hang on, I have some exciting news for you.
When it comes to family policy, both men and women are granted the same rights and obligations in Sweden. Those include 480 days of paid parental leave once a child is born or adopted, divided among the two parents, and each parent is entitled to 90 reserved exclusively for them. In addition to being able to take days off to care for a sick child and being compensated for that. Not to mention that Swedes don’t have to worry about saving money for their child’s education, as schools are fully tax-funded (mostly including lunches) for children aged 6 to 19. This leaves more space for leisure time and allows both parents to care for their family while pursuing their own careers and professional growth.
In Sweden, childcare is guaranteed for all parents, and nursery schooling and pre-school are affordable for everyone.
Sorry ladies, some bad news might follow...
When it comes to economic equality, although Sweden has worked greatly on establishing it yet, there still remains a pay gap.
But don’t worry, because the battle for equal pay continues until it’s achieved!
If you’re wondering why equal pay hasn’t been achieved yet, well, although sometimes differences in one’s choice of profession and sector, years of experience, and position can contribute to receiving different pay, some pay differences are still related to gender, and women can get paid less than men in some instances.
Women’s average salaries are less than 88% of men’s! The difference rockets up to 95.5% when we consider differences in the choice of profession and sector.
The pay gap present of 9.9% is explained by saying that women work without pay from 16:12. This is where the 16:12 rörelsen (16:12 movement) was born and launched in 2012 by the Swedish Women’s Lobby (Sveriges Kvinnolobby). Its goal is to make sure that women get paid for every minute they spend working.
The movement’s initial name was 15:51 as the same theory was applied, but the pay gap was still at 14.3%. This movement aims for its name to keep on changing until its ultimate mission is achieved.
Gender equality is not just about women. On the contrary, if gender equality is achieved, it helps us all live the lives we please. When we as men get the opportunity to share housework and childcare with our partners, we are resulting in happier children, parents, and families, and this includes men doesn’t it? This is a society’s fight, not just a women’s fight.
Sweden might not have achieved total equality yet, but it’s on the way to do so, and it has a head start in many countries. So if you plan on moving to Sweden, this information might be essential for your integration as equality is among the culture's core values.