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Sharing the Keys to Sustainable Gender Equality

National gender equality objectives cannot be achieved without active contributions by municipalities and county councils, but how do they succeed? As part of a cross-Nordic project, local representatives meet to share successful experiences.


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Anna Ulveson, gender equality expert at the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, is leading the project, which gathers municipal representatives from Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Denmark. The intention is for the project to inspire others who want to work with gender mainstreaming as a method.‘Municipalities are well suited to work with gender equality in practice. We have a close relationship with the citizens through healthcare, schools, community youth centres and elderly care,’ says Ulveson.

What does gender mainstreaming really mean?

‘It means that you integrate a gender equality perspective into the daily work everywhere from the top decision-makers to the face-to-face interaction with citizens. Municipalities and county councils have an important role in this context since we’re involved in so many different types of citizen services.’

How does the gender mainstreaming work differ between different Nordic countries?
‘That’s what we want to find out in the project. We know that the method has been understood in more than one way, and there is still some uncertainty about how it can be done in practice. In Sweden we have worked with gender mainstreaming through the Program for Sustainable Gender Equality, and there are many success stories.’

Can you tell us about any of them?
‘Many organisations start out by analysing themselves with gender statistics. This can help them see problems they weren’t aware of. For example, Sahlgrenska Hospital in Gothenburg discovered that women who came to the hospital with a broken hip were given less pain relief than men. This realisation made them redesign their entire procedure for these types of cases. Today all patients with a hip fracture are given pain relief already in the ambulance and the care they receive has become both better and more efficient. There are more examples at jämställ.nu and in our film about sustainable gender equality.’

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Concretely, what are you going to do in the project?
‘We will arrange three workshops in Malmö, Helsinki and Oslo. The purpose of them is to get together and discuss experiences from different municipalities. We think we’ve made some progress and now it’s important that we learn from each other to keep moving forward.’

What are some Nordic challenges?
‘The Nordic countries have many similarities in politics and overall living conditions for citizens. Knowledge about solutions to shared problems is valuable. Active sharing of experiences could speed up the gender mainstreaming process in the Nordic countries.’

This is an article about one of the projects granted funding through the Nordic Gender Equality Fund.

Latest updated 2 October 2020