Sub-goal 2: Economic equality

The pay gap between women and men is decreasing, but when it comes to disposable income, the difference remains at about the same level. Women have on average 20 percent lower disposable income than men.

Glad kvinna flyttar in i eget boende.

According to the second sub-goal of the gender equality policy, women and men must have the same opportunities and conditions in terms of paid work that gives financial independence for life.

What is the situation?

Female-dominated occupations, for example in health and care, have on average lower wages than male-dominated ones. However, women's wage incomes have increased faster than men's in recent years. Despite this, they still have less money left to use for consumption when the tax is paid. This is partly due to the fact that women are to a greater extent outside the labour market, working in part-time and in low-wage occupations. Women also take more parental leave, study for a longer period of time and have higher sickness absence than men, which affects both wage income and pensions.

Men also own shares and real estate to a greater extent than women. This means higher capital income for men, which further increases the income differences. Women have about half as much capital income as men. At the same time, the difference is evened out to a certain extent by transfers, such as child benefits, health insurance and unemployment benefits.

More women than men work part-time. One reason why many women work part time is that they are not offered full time work. Another reason may be that they take care of children or another relative. The proportion of women who state the latter as a reason for part-time work has decreased in recent years, while the proportion of part-time working men who take care of children or close relatives has almost doubled.

More difficult for foreign-born women and women with disabilities

Age, education, occupation, country of birth and disability are some factors that, together with gender, affect the possibility of work and thus a gender-equal economy. It takes longer for foreign-born women than for foreign-born men to establish themselves on the Swedish labour market, regardless of level of education.

Women with disabilities have worse conditions on the labor market than men with disabilities, and also compared with women and men in the rest of the population. They are more often long-term unemployed, work involuntarily part-time and experience negative attitudes in working life. Women with disabilities are overrepresented in the group living below the relative poverty line.

What are the challenges for a gender-equal economy?

Women and men should have equal opportunities for financial independence. Women and men must be able to support themselves and any children and be seen as individually responsible for their support.

In its reports, the Swedish Gender Equality Agency highlights some areas for development in order to achieve a more gender-equal economy:

• Consider how gender-specific career choices affect future income.
• Take into account the effects on disposable income in initiatives and reforms.
• Create labour market policy measures that meet the different needs and conditions of individuals.
• Strengthen collaboration between actors who deal with foreign-born women on their way into the labour market.
• Work systematically with gender equality and disability.

Publication date: 7 January 2022

Last updated: 13 December 2022