Sweden is working to improve women’s resources in a number of areas. These range from development cooperation and assistance to achieve economic empowerment to leadership training and trade union rights.
Sweden has committed to only giving support to humanitarian actors that base their work on gender-disaggregated statistics.
In 2015, 17 per cent of Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) cooperation had gender equality as its main purpose, compared with 8 per cent in 2008. This is measured by the OECD DAC gender equality policy marker, which tracks aid in support of gender equality.
Sweden also provides extensive support to aid for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). This constitutes more than 60 per cent of Swedish health aid via Sida. In connection with the She Decides conference in March 2017, Sweden decided to contribute an additional SEK 200 million in aid to strengthen SRHR globally.
In addition, Sweden is the largest donor of core support to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). UNFPA activities target the promotion of comprehensive sexuality education, contraceptive advice and distribution, and combating maternal mortality. Swedish core support to the UNFPA in 2014–2015 helped to prevent more than 650 000 unwanted pregnancies, some 200 000 unsafe abortions and approximately 1 000 maternal deaths. In addition, it has helped ensure access to contraceptives for more than 1.6 million people.
Sweden also works to strengthen women’s economic empowerment and better conditions in working life. Among other things, Sweden has contributed to the establishment of a Swedish model of women’s networks for economic empowerment (Winnet) in several countries. In Belarus, the Embassy of Sweden is engaged in Women in Business – a programme supported by Sweden and run by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), involving mentorship and better access to business loans for women.
The Embassy of Sweden in Uganda and Plan International launched a pilot project with the business sector to create employment for more than 12 000 young people, 60 per cent of them women. At the end of the project, 99 per cent of them were in work. The participants’ average monthly income had increased by 621 per cent, as had their average savings.
In Bolivia, 5 000 new jobs have been created annually for women (either employment or starting a business) through Sweden’s support to technical training organisation FAUTAPO and SOS Children’s Villages.
Sweden has also facilitated cooperation between the Swedish public employment service, Arbetsförmedlingen, and its Cambodian equivalent in a joint project involving young job seekers, 60 per cent of them women.
Sweden’s Consulate-General in Istanbul has started a project in cooperation with the Öz-Iplik Is textile workers’ union to promote women’s leadership. The textile industry is important to Turkey’s economy – it makes up one fifth of the country’s GDP – and 60 per cent of the people in the industry are women.