Gender equality

Contributing to fulfilling governmental goals

How does Sweden live up to the gender equality goals established through policy? One of the goals is about how paid and unpaid labour in the home needs to be more evenly divided between the sexes, so that women’s wages, pensions and well-being do not fall behind.

Father and daughter sitting in kitchen. Photo:

The financial aspects of gender equality – and inequality – can become painfully clear. With the help of statistical databases, our researchers study how men and women spend their time, and how the patterns are changing slowly. The studies include public inquiries commissioned by the Government, and provide important documentation for future decisions.

Inequality affects our well-being

“An uneven division of labour between men and women in the home has consequences in terms of career and salary and, as the differences accumulate over time, its affects their pensions, and thus their whole life income. For quite some time, not a lot has been said about the financial aspects of gender equality, which is quite strange. Different financial outcomes affect both men and women with regard to their independence and self-determination, as well as their well-being”, says Professor of Economic History Maria Stanfors.

As part of the Government’s gender equality inquiry in 2015, Maria Stanfors followed up on the goal of an equal distribution of unpaid household and care work.

Gender equality is about choices

While women have gradually taken on more paid work outside the home, men have not, to the same extent, increased their participation in unpaid household and care work. Women continue to perform a majority of unpaid and, above all, repetitive housework. The workload and stress for women to be able to keep up with their jobs and the work at home may result in them reducing their paid working hours to part-time, or refraining from pursuing a career altogether. By making the consequences clear, researchers hope to demonstrate what is needed in order to fulfil the gender equality goals.

“Gender equality is often about choices”, says Maria Stanfors.