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UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
Sweden (CEDAW 24-11-2021)
The Committee considered the tenth periodic report of Sweden (CEDAW/C/SWE/10) at its 1819th and 1820th meetings (see CEDAW/C/SR.1819 and CEDAW/C/SR.1820), held on 22 October 2021.
E. Principal areas of concern and recommendations
- The Committee commends the State party for its advanced social model, characterized by social redistribution, high unemployment benefits and a large public sector. Noting that it is combined with a competitive economy and a dependable welfare system, as well as low unemployment and poverty rates, the Committee considers the Swedish social model a strong basis for gender-responsive coronavirus disease (COVID-19) responses and recovery strategies, including under the Next Generation EU recovery plan. However, the Committee is concerned about the prevalence of gender-based violence against women, including domestic violence, and the feminization of poverty, disproportionately affecting women and girls belonging to disadvantaged and marginalized groups and facing intersecting forms of discrimination, across the territory of the State party.
- In line with its guidance note on the obligations of States parties to the Convention in the context of COVID-19, issued on 22 April 2020, the Committee recommends that the State party:
(a)Consolidate the Swedish social model throughout the State party as a driving force for sustainable change and use it as a catalyst for implementing measures in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic to redress pre-existing gender inequalities by placing women and girls at the centre of recovery strategies in line with the 2030 Agenda, paying particular attention to unemployed women and women living in poverty, women belonging to ethnic or national minorities, Sami women, older women, women with disabilities, migrant, refugee and asylum-seeking women, and lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and intersex persons;
Temporary special measures
- The Committee remains concerned at the low number of women in leadership positions in academia, in senior management positions and on the boards of private companies. It notes with concern that the representation of women among new board of directors members is decreasing, with only 9 per cent of chief executive officer positions held by women, and that only 25 per cent of senior management positions were held by women in 2020.
- Reiterating its previous recommendations ( CEDAW/C/SWE/CO/8-9 , para. 23), the Committee recommends that the State party make use of temporary special measures, in accordance with article 4 (1) of the Convention and the Committee’s general recommendation No. 25 (2004) on temporary special measures, and provide incentives such as gender scorecards, strengthen targeted recruitment and set time-bound goals and quotas in all areas covered by the Convention where women are underrepresented or disadvantaged in both the public and private sectors, including in private companies, in order to significantly increase the number of women who are chief executive officers, the number of women who are members of boards of directors and the number of women who hold senior management positions. The Committee also recommends that the State party implement temporary special measures to accelerate equal participation by women belonging to disadvantaged groups, such as migrant women, older women, women with disabilities, Sami women, Roma women, lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and intersex persons and refugee and asylum-seeking women.
(a) Ensure that allegations of gender-based violence against women facing intersecting forms of discrimination are promptly investigated, that perpetrators are prosecuted and adequately punished, and that survivors have access to victim support services and adequate reparations;
(b) Provide information in its next periodic report on the situation of women facing intersecting forms of discrimination, including lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and intersex persons, migrant, refugee and asylum-seeking women, women living with HIV/AIDS, women with disabilities and women with albinism, and on measures taken to address such discrimination.
Equal participation in political and public life
- The Committee notes that following the 2018 national, regional and municipal elections, 43 per cent of members elected to municipal councils were women. However, the Committee notes with concern that:
(a)Only 43 per cent of all municipal chief executive officers, 32 per cent of mayors and 29 per cent of regional chief executive officers are women;
(b)The Swedish Gender Equality Agency reported that women generally faced more barriers than men to participating in elected bodies and political parties;
(c)According to the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention, women politicians often receive sexist comments, and that 32 per cent of women elected to the Riksdag and at regional and municipal levels stated that they had received threats and were the victims of harassment during the 2018 election year.
- Reiterating its previous recommendations ( CEDAW/C/SWE/CO/8-9 , para. 31 ) , and recalling its general recommendation No. 23 (1997) on women in political and public life, the Committee recommends that the State party:
(a)Continue to take targeted measures to maintain its achievements in ensuring a high rate of representation of women in political and public life in the Riksdag and at the regional and municipal levels. The Committee also recommends that, in doing so, the State party pay particular attention to underrepresented groups of women, such as Sami women, Roma women, women with disabilities and lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and intersex persons, among others;