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