The former right-wing government of Sweden spent 2.6 billion crowns on “gender equality” initiatives—roughly 315 million dollars. The results? According to a study done by the Swedish National Audit Office, it might not make any long-term difference.
Although the government’s expensive efforts to promote equality between the sexes had a temporary effect, the new study shows that they risk not causing any long lasting change. An author of the study, Margareta Åberg, says that parts of what has been accomplished risks “disappearing when the money does.”
A brief history of gender mainstreaming
Since 1994 the Swedish government has striven to implement a gender equality perspective on everything it does, from making decisions to putting them into practice. This strategy is known as “gender mainstreaming.” Every government agency, from local to national level, now has a responsibility to achieve the ultimate goal of equality between men and women.
In the 2006 election the people of Sweden replaced the old socialist government with a coalition of right-wing parties, called the Alliance. Thus they assumed the mantle of turning the country into a society with no difference in outcome between the sexes. One example of their goals was to make men and women do the same amount of unpaid household work.
Quickly the new administration went to work, and obviously did not hold back on expenses. From 2007 to 2014 the government spent 2.6 billion crowns on a variety of projects to promote gender equality. The huge expenditure of taxpayer money is unique for this kind of investment in Sweden.
The government’s primary objective was to end men’s violence against women, prostitution, and trafficking. Around half of the money, 1.2 billion crowns, was spent to this end. Of that amount, a great portion went to combating honor-related violence, which is typically overwhelmingly isolated to immigrant populations. Policemen, attorneys, and judges were expensively educated on the subject.
One funded project which got much attention in Swedish media this winter was gender-equal snow clearing. This has been implemented in several cities. Statistics show that women walk and ride bicycles more often than men, while men drive cars more often than women. Clearing snow in a gender equal way means that sidewalks and bicycle paths are the first to be cleared, and then roads. That way, women will have an easier time of getting around than men. This apparently counts as a step toward equality.
Same bad ideas, different government
The Swedish National Audit Office has studied whether the billions of crowns of government funding will have a long term effect or not. Its conclusion is pessimistic. Many of the projects were temporary and will not be continued. Furthermore, a substantial amount of the money was never used for its intended purpose, partly due to government agencies being unprepared and having no plan for how to use their added resources.
Helene Odenljung of the Liberal People’s Party, which was a part of the right-wing coalition, agrees with the critique but maintains that the money produced good results. “I think that it is a hint to the next government, to do something similar actually, to continue the efforts that have been made,” she says to Sveriges Radio.
Last year the current left-wing government was elected, consisting of the Social Democratic Party and the Green Party. If they are more apt to use taxpayer money in an effective way remains to be seen. Without a doubt, though, they will continue enforcing feminist policies on the Swedish people. In a speech last summer, Deputy Prime Minister Åsa Romson went on a misandric tirade, blaming men in general for global warming.
It is rich men who cause the emissions and it is the poorest women who become the greatest victims, she professed to a cheering crowd
The Prime Minister himself, Stefan Löfven, said this in a speech after winning the election:
Sweden’s new government is a feminist government. Repressive gender roles and structures will be fought.
He continued by threatening companies on the stock exchange with imposing affirmative action. If women don’t make up at least 40 percent of boards by 2016, he will use legislation to enforce it. The Prime Minister also said that government agencies will be given a clearer task of applying gender mainstreaming to all of their activities.
Taking freedom away to reach Utopia
Despite their many differences, Stefan Löfven’s administration is carrying on the political aspirations of its right-wing predecessor. Both want to get women to work, and men to stay in the household cleaning and raising children. If this does not happen naturally, well, they surely have no other option than to pass laws that demand it.
A commonality between most Swedish politicians of today is their affection for social engineering. If they don’t have a plan for creating a completely gender-equal society, the people will not see any reason to vote for them. Freedom, in the sense of absence of coercion, is a term never used in political debates. Everyone agrees, as no Swede could ever question without being virulently chastised and alienated, that equality is the ultimate good.
Whatever the color of the government in place, Sweden will continue on the social engineering trail. It cannot be said for certain if the politicians and social justice warriors will ever reach their utopian goal. What is obvious, however, is that they won’t spare any expenses using other people’s money to get there.
Read More: Why Gender Equality Is So Bothersome