While female and male members of the Riksdag believe that they have equal opportunities when it comes to exercising an influence and having political impact, female members experience greater demands and a higher degree of anxiety. This is reflected in the survey that was distributed to all the Riksdag members.
In June 2006, the Riksdag decided that there would be an action plan for gender equality in the Riksdag in every electoral period. Gender equality efforts should also be followed up. In January and February, a survey was distributed to all the members to investigate whether all members felt that they have the same conditions in which to conduct their work. 82 per cent of the members of the Riksdag answered the survey.
The findings show that female and male members of the Riksdag believe that they have equal opportunities when it comes to exercising an influence and having political impact, which are of central importance to the duties of a member of parliament.
Young female MPs feel the greatest pressure
The report points out some areas where continued efforts are necessary to ensure that the Riksdag should be more gender-equal in future. Female members feel that they have greater demands placed on them that male members and they feel a greater degree of anxiety about making mistakes in their duties as members.
"The responses from the members of the Riksdag indicate that gender equality efforts produce results. Naturally, this is gratifying. At the same time, we can see that there are challenges that we need to continue working with," says Esabelle Dingizian (Green Party) and Chair of the Riksdag Group for Gender Equality Issues.
Young women who are 35 years of age and younger experience these demands as being particularly high and they worry more than other groups. Younger members also experience more often than others that it is difficult to reconcile their work as members of parliament with family obligations. This is particularly true for young female members, as well as young male members, although not quite to the same extent.
There is also a gender difference in the members' responses as regards the way they are treated. Women say that they are interrupted during mmetings more often than men and that their clothes and appearance are commented on to a greater extent.
The report that was presented on 18 May also shows new challenges. Threats and abuse, above all via social media, have become an increasingly great factor that affects the duties of a member of parliament.
Gender equality efforts continue
The Riksdag Group for Gender Equality Issues is working in several ways to map gender equality in the Riksdag and the report is part of this work. Quantitatively, the Swedish Parliament is quite gender-equal with 43.6 per cent women members. However, the working group focuses on the qualitative aspects. All members of the Riksdag should have the same opportunities to conduct their duties, regardless of gender.
The working group is now about to analyse the results further and continue to work using the results of the survey as a base.
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