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The government of Sweden has given all institutions of higher learning the mandate to work strategically with mainstreaming gender equality for the purpose of realising the political objective of gender equality and the overarching goal: that women and men have the same power to shape society and their own lives. The strategy involves introducing a gender perspective into all decision-making and all processes at all levels of the institutions. ‘Institutions of higher learning should continue to develop gender mainstreaming projects so that their operations contribute to achieving the goals of political gender equality (skr. 2016/17:10), in, for example, creating equal opportunity in terms of career paths, sex-linked choices about what to study and throughput. Every institution of higher learning should continue to implement its individual plan for development needs, goals, and activities that that institution intends to undertake and describe the way gender equality will be integrated and become a part of that institution’s ordinary operations, such as its governance processes. Measures and results based on the plan are then presented in a report. Institutions of higher learning report back as to how they view gender equality in terms of the distribution of funding for research’ (Spending Authorisation for the 2020 budget year issued to institutions of higher learning).

Working with gender mainstreaming within the framework of Agenda 2030 involves putting in place a gender equality analysis of the entire agenda to identify gender inequality that stands in the way of achieving sustainable development and the objectives in the agenda.  This means that it is not sufficient to work with Objective 5 alone, which explicitly deals with gender equality, but rather to identify problems that have to do with gender inequality in the various objectives in the agenda that we as an institution of higher learning and public authority are affected by. To generate an accurate analysis of our problems with inequality and our need for interventions, we need to understand that inequality is something that affects individuals and groups differently. Therefore, we need to produce an analysis, using graphics, that is based upon several power structures rather than simply gender (such as ethnicity, socioeconomic/class/age factors). For this reason, the interpretation of gender equality used in Swedish universities’ gender mainstreaming projects is well suited to Agenda 2030. Lacking gender equality is still in focus, but is viewed consistently from the perspective of intersectionality. This means that focus and analysis are grounded in how gender works together with other social power structures like ethnicity, race, class, age, sexuality, and physical ability, making possible a more complex and contextual understanding of the concrete obstacles to reaching social sustainability.


  • All leadership, management, and support processes at University West are gender mainstreamed (i.e. undergo a gender equality analysis and measures are taken as needed). This has to do with creating the circumstances for, among other things: 
  • equal representation and a level playing field in all governing and decision-making bodies at University West.
  • the same salary for the same/equivalent work as well as equal distribution of resources and equal terms and opportunities for education, choice of programme, and personal/professional development.
  • students and employees with a good knowledge of gender equality and the ability to promote gender equality in the classroom, working life, and in society at large.
  • employees and students being able to take the same responsibility for caregiving where they study/work and live.
  • the same right to physical integrity regardless of gender and the university proactively preventing sexual harassment and gender-based vulnerability
  • the university’s research being characterised by a systematic gender perspective in both content and form
  • programme students with knowledge about gender equality and the competence to understand and solve gender equality challenges that are relevant for their profession and for society at large
  • collaboration with external partners, such as WIL whose profile is characterized by gender equality


  • Analysing, and when necessary, adjusting selection/recruiting processes as well as the terms for equal participation in governing and decision-making bodies
  • Analysing and countering unmotivated hierarchies and lack of independence among employees
  • Ensuring that gender equality is integrated in the university’s Quality Assurance System and that progress is made
  • Ensuring that there is gender equality in guidelines, routines and approaches that affect career paths (ex. recruiting, employment, distribution of tasks, career counselling).
  • Analysing and, when necessary, adjusting salaries and other distribution of resources (ex. research and promotion funding).
  • Analysing and ensuring gender equality in the terms indicated for education and personal/professional development for both students and employees
  • Continuing to map out and meet the need for knowledge about gender equality of students and employees.
  • Identifying needs and measures to be taken for ensuring the possibility of combining studies, work, and private life/caregiving.
  • Gender mainstreaming in the university’s WIL and research strategy.


  • Department and section heads (responsibility for holding together integration locally and ensuring that there is structure in the work being done)
  • Programme and course coordinators (for the introduction of perspective in the syllabi)
  • Those responsible for research environments and committees
  • Appointed administrators within the university administraion and Study and Academic Support, Library and Educational Development, in the form of support for operations and centres at the university

Detailed information about background, priorities and suggested activities for those responsible for prioritizing and focusing these efforts can be found in Appendix 1.