Sweden is a Scandinavian nation with thousands of coastal islands and inland lakes, along with vast boreal forests and glaciated mountains. Its principal cities, eastern capital Stockholm and southwestern Gothenburg and Malmö, are all coastal. Stockholm is built on 14 islands. As well as the medieval old town, Gamla Stan, royal palaces and museums such as the open-air Skansen, it has more than 50 bridges. The Stockholm archipelago, 400 islands in total, has long been a popular vacation destination for people from Europe and beyond. The archipelago’s large water playground is the capital of the country, where over 3 million people visit every year.
Sweden is rich in resources of natural origin. It has vast fertile plains in the north, arable land in the south, and extensive areas of forest in the northeast. Stockholm’s port and fishing industry, Sweden’s most important economic sector, gave rise to some of Europe’s earliest industrial cities, like Malmö and Gothenburg. The enormous wealth generated from the fisheries also brought about substantial immigration. The population has grown almost 20 percent since 1970.
Another theme in our report is that the term “green economy” is often erroneously used to describe many different kinds of economic activities. The more broadly used idea is about saving energy and resources, but also growing the economy sustainably. In a country like Sweden, the importance of sustainability and resource management is not new. Although there are some international initiatives on the topic, and local initiatives in certain regions, a lot of Swedes live on farms, manage forests and work in the green economy sector that support the climate protection goals.
Sweden is the land with fewer men than women, in the middle of the OECD, the club for the world’s wealthiest countries. With 25% of the population under 18 and 80% under 15, Sweden has one of the highest birth rates in the world. In the past decades, the unemployment rate has been extremely low. With incomes topping 35% of the country’s GDP, Swedes have the highest purchasing power in Europe. They save 60% of their income. At the same time, the country is struggling to reduce its reliance on the automotive industry, a major employer, and expand its exports.
The country ranks 5th in the world in terms of the number of Nobel Laureates, which is the ideal indicator for social progress. The quality of its education system places Sweden among the top countries in the world for vocational training, according to the OECD. Sweden’s rate of female employment is almost 20 percentage points higher than that of their male counterparts. Female unemployment in Sweden stands at 3% and among the highest in Europe.
These are some facts that Sweden’s legacy media tend to overlook when writing about the country’s crime wave and migration problems, or in explaining why the Feminist Initiative Party is no longer part of the mainstream.
Sweden is already the most liberal country in the world, but the ongoing surge of asylum seekers is just too much for conservative politicians to handle.
Sweden is another example of a policy that meets this criterion. Sweden has made a new offer to admit refugees and, as anticipated, this year it will reach the country’s refugee target. In contrast, refugees in other countries, especially in the Southern Mediterranean, are literally dying at the hands of smugglers or are abandoned in the middle of the sea when their boats are intercepted by the Libyan Coast Guard. Furthermore, because Sweden has not received a significant number of refugees, there is no repeat of the 2015 situation, when the country had to deal with an influx of refugees.
Gender equality is one of the top three priorities for countries around the world, according to a recent global survey of high school and college students from 37 countries. And it was a no-brainer for the Swedes to educate their future citizens on gender issues. The education system has been fully in sync with the gender policies of the society for decades. Both public and private schools and universities consistently emphasize gender equality and human rights in their curriculum. Swedish girls are always being treated as equal to their male classmates. In high school, there are special courses for math and science, and girls are also taught self-defense.
Although the country has a reputation as a progressive nation, the gender pay gap is 18% and is increasing steadily. Women make up nearly half of the work force but they make just a third of the overall pay. Of the major job sectors, unemployment is highest among women. In 2016, women working in politics had the highest average income at 36,690 Swedish kronor (US$4,900), nearly double the average income of their male counterparts. The gender pay gap is reflected in political representation: Sweden’s parliament is 65% male, including all the members of the coalition government.
Feminism is regarded as one of Sweden’s most significant achievements. The education system reflects this. There are special classes in schools that teach gender studies. Lectures on feminism and sexism are part of the main curriculum in most high schools. These classes teach students that males and females have equal rights. Some of these classes encourage students to reject traditional gender roles and encourage them to be equal.
Date of last update: 16. May, 2021