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Stefan Löfven (S): Sweden will be a global role model

| Text: Berit Kvam Photo: Melker Dahlstrand, the Swedish Parliament

Prime Minister Löfven called his new government feminist as he presented it in parliament on Friday. It has 23 government ministers — 12 women and 11 men plus the Prime Minister — and is a coalition comprising the Social Democrats and the Green Party. Work was top of Löfven’s speech.

Foto: Regeringskansliet

Prime Minister Stefan Löfven number three front right.

“Work means community and belonging, and power to shape your life and your future,” Stefan Löfven began, and promised that Sweden would have the lowest unemployment rate in the EU’s by 2020. 

“It is crucial for women and men to find work if we want to keep Sweden together.”

Young people were also high on his agenda, and will be looked after through a youth guarantee. Unemployed youths will be offered a job, work experience, internships or training within 90 days. 

He continued by highlighting his government would put far more emphasis on education and workplace development, and said there would be a new boost of skills during the next parliament. There will also be a ground-up reform of Sweden’s Public Employment Service, and the social partners will start talks on skills development and opportunities for people to change their careers. A functioning system for rehabilitation after illness will also be set up.  

The controversial labour market initiative FAS 3, introduced by the Reinfeld government, will be abolished:

“Instead people will be offered jobs which will gain society, with real solutions and good conditions, and with good training opportunities.” 

People with physical handicaps and reduced work ability will have access to so-called flexjobs, which offer special employment conditions combined with a state wage subsidy. 

Lövfen particularly mentioned the importance of equal opportunities for people with physical handicaps, allowing them to participate and to be available on the labour market. He promised to review discrimination legislation.

“We will remove obstacles for people’s participation in society. This is a question of equality and fairness,” said Löfven.

He was also keen to create a better functioning labour market, and said Swedish salaries and conditions will apply to everyone who works in Sweden.

“The misuse of temporary contracts will stop and we will improve the unemployment insurance scheme.”

A feminist government

Sweden’s new government is a feminist government, Prime Minister Löfven told parliament, underlining how gender equality policy will play a greater role.

“We will fight gender roles and structures which hold people back. Women and men will be given equal power to shape our society and their own lives.”

He promised to narrow the salary gap between women and men. 

“That’s why we will map salary trends every year. The employment rate should be equal for women and men. Full-time work will be the norm in the labour market. Part-time work will be a possibility.”

Quotas

There will be no legislation to introduce boardroom gender quotas now, but the Prime Minister said this:

“If the number of women in listed companies has not reached at least 40 percent by 2016, we will propose quota legislation.”

Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and his government has great ambitions for Sweden:

There will be more investment in house construction, railway infrastructure, other public transport solutions and for fighting climate change. Sweden’s competitiveness should increase, and not least:

“Sweden will be a global role model for development, equality and in leading the fight against climate change. It will be a country known for human equality, self confidence, solidarity and a belief in our ability to change the future.”

Read more about Sweden’s new government here 

Ylva Johansson Ylva Johansson (S), new Minister for Employment

Ylva Johansson is a Social Democrat and was previously deputy leader for the labour market committee in the Swedish parliament.

She is 49 years old, married with three children aged 12 18 and 18 and she has three grown up bonus children, as she puts it.

She has previously been both Minister for Education and Minister for Social Affairs, and is not considered a surprising choice as Minister for Employment. 

In her own blog she writes about most of the labour market issues raised by Löfven in his speech to parliament. Under the heading “A new policy is needed for matching” she criticises her predecessors for failing to recruit unemployed people to jobs which are available on the labour market. In September she raised the issue of wage equality. “I am so tired of the fact that women earn less than men,” she writes: “Despite having the same education and the same job, women are often paid less than men. An efficient way of dealing with this is to introduce an annual mapping of workplace salary trends,” which is just what it says in the new government’s programme.

Margot Wallström, Sweden’s new Minister for Foreign Affairs

Margot Wallström was not an unknown candidate for the foreign affairs job either. Her long experience from the EU has also given her responsibility for EU issues in the new government. 

Read more about Margot Wallström here

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