Award-winning author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner and human rights counsellor Colin Gonsalves are some of the 500 gender equality actors who will participate in the Stockholm Forum on Gender Equality on 15–17 April. The global forum is about strengthening women’s and girls’ rights, representation and access to resources.

Every year, millions of people fall victim to human trafficking and cynical exploitation. The women and girls affected are sold nearly exclusively for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Sweden’s feminist government is working on a broad front to combat this violence that affects countless women and girls every year. Legislation that prohibits purchasing sex is an effective tool.

Sweden is by far the largest donor to gender equality initiatives in Ukraine where change is underway, slowly but surely.
Ukraine has not ratified the Istanbul Convention but legislative proposals in the spirit of the Convention were recently presented to the parliament. These legislative proposals make clear that domestic violence is a criminal act.

Sexual and gender-based violence in conflict is used as a tactic of war and needs to be combatted urgently, systematically and long-term. Sweden’s feminist foreign policy means that we address the challenge with all available tools and at all levels, including in our role as a non-permanent member of the Security Council.

In a country plagued by sexual violence, women and men are starting to combat the root causes by challenging gender norms. While statistics continue to show high levels of violence against women and girls in the Congo, there are positive accounts of women becoming economic actors and winning respect in their communities. Women are challenging the ‘victim’ label, and men are becoming increasingly involved in presenting a more positive side of masculinity and condemning violence.

How can we strengthen law and policy to combat sexual and gender-based violence in humanitarian crises? This was the key question when the European Parliament’s Standing Rapporteur on Humanitarian Aid, Enrique Guerrero Salom, and the Red Cross hosted thematic discussions at the Permanent Representation of Sweden to the EU on 7 November.

Deliberately calculating all costs of violence against women to society is a way of demonstrating that violence against women must never be reduced to being regarded as a private matter, or a family concern, or reduced to caring for the victim. It is the responsibility of the whole of society and must be treated as such.

The Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention is a unique, internationally binding regulatory framework to combat violence against women and domestic violence.
It establishes that domestic violence is a structural problem and an expression of a historically unequal power balance between women and men.

You can’t achieve 100% success while leaving 50% behind.
Gender equality is not only a human right, it is one of the Global Goals and an obvious priority of the Swedish Foreign Service – research shows that it is also a formula for successful societies.

The United Nations in Bolivia has produced a new model of cooperation to increase focus on gender equality and eliminate violence against women, girls and boys.