The implementation of gender mainstreaming has a fairly long history in Sweden.
Gender mainstreaming has been the Swedish government’s overarching strategy for gender policy since its 1993 bill Shared Power, Shared Responsibility. The first plan of how to implement the strategy in the Government Offices was adopted in 2004. In 2011 the government adopted a platform on how gender mainstreaming is to be conducted at central, regional and local level.
In 2006, an Equality Policy Bill was was confirmed as the main strategy for achieving the gender-equality policy objectives, and it reinforced that each ministry and each policy area is responsible for gender equality within its areas of responsibilities. Ministries should formulate customised objectives to be reached, designate assignments to agencies, and require follow-ups, reports and evaluations of these objectives and assignments.
Gender mainstreaming remains the main strategy used to achieve gender-equality policy objectives in Sweden, together with specific measures and legal provisions. In 2012, the Strategy for the Work on Gender Mainstreaming in the Government Offices was issued, covering the period 2012–2015. The strategy includes an organisation for rules, responsibilities and accountability for the civil servants and the political government officials, defines that the work in the government should be evaluated yearly by an external evaluator and reported to the Gender Equality minister. The strategy also states that work with EU should be evaluated separately. A comprehensive evaluation will be done in 2015 regarding the implementation of gender mainstreaming at the Government Offices based on this strategy.
In 2008, the Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research was commissioned by the government to set up a program to support governmental agencies in their work with gender mainstreaming. The Program JÄMI was set up and lasted until the end of 2010. In the Government’s instructions to the Secretariat, four assignments were specified: to develop methods, create forums, inform, and create opportunities for support structures. As a response, the Secretariat outlined JÄMI, a programme consisting of a wide range of activities, studies, workshops,seminars, round-table discussions, forums, networks, national and international conferences, a summer school, an undergraduate course, various publications, websites, databases, and newsletters. The work was conducted in consultation and collaboration with various organizations and experts from academia, government offices, NGOs, and consultants worldwide.
The Swedish government has assigned 41 of its agencies to work actively with gender mainstreaming in 2015-2018. The aim of the GMGA programme, Gender Mainstreaming in Government Agencies, is for the participating agencies to integrate a gender equality perspective in all aspects of their work. The Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research has been assigned by the government to support the agencies in the planning and implementation of their development work.
After the 2014 national election Sweden’s Government is a coalition Government made up by the Social Democratic Party & the Green party. Sweden’s Government as of 2014 has declared itself a feminist Government and has made a clear commitment to promoting gender equality in all policy making. The commitment has been defined as striving to combat inhibitive gender roles and structures and to let gender equality have a formative impact on policy choices, priorities, and in allocation of resources. Gender mainstreaming as a strategy to achieve gender equality is a priority for Sweden’s Feminist Government.
Gender budgeting, as an application of gender mainstreaming in the budget process, has been given renewed focus within the Government, and an extensive effort to further develop gender budgeting in the state budget is now under way in Sweden. The purpose of this development work is to strengthen the application of a gender equality perspective in the budget process so that policy reforms are based on gender equality impact analysis, and policy is implemented with a gender-sensitive approach. The aim is to further develop sustainable mechanisms for gender budgeting by improving internal management and control, training, methodology, support and coordination. These improvements should result in more advanced gender equality impact analysis and a systematic use of statistics disaggregated by sex, so that the budget bill reflects the objectives and commitments of a feminist Government. The gender budgeting work has also entailed work on new objectives for gender equality within selected strategic policy areas, as a way to concretize how other policy areas can contribute to implementation of the gender equality policy goals. Customized policy objectives and actions for gender equality, with indicators to follow up the result, have been formulated, to contribute to implementation of Sweden’s gender equality policy goals and the Government feminist aspirations. Selected policy areas are labour market, health and social policy, education, foreign and development policy, and juridical policy.