02:27 GMT11 April 2021
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    Not content with its worldwide efforts in promoting egalitarianism, the Swedish red-green coalition government, which describes itself as "overtly feminist," has launched a new gender equality body with an overblown budget, in a bid to achieve a fully "gender equal" society.

    In September, the Swedish government announced its plans to create a new gender equality body, built upon an idea first mentioned in a study, performed by the previous Conservative government. Recently, the idea has begun to take shape, triggering significant criticism.

    "We are still in the midst of inequality because we lack a national grip of and control over gender equality policy," Social Democrat Equality Minister Åsa Regnér said when announcing the plans to create the agency.

    With several Swedish cities vying to host the new body, citing their research and experience in the field of gender equality, Sweden's second largest city of Gothenburg, which is already home to the Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research was announced as the winner.

    The new authority is expected to have a relatively "modest" workforce of 75-90 employees and is due to launch in January 2018, the Swedish daily Göteborgs-Posten reported.

    In addition to the new agency, the Swedish government allocated a whopping 900 million SEK (over $95mln) for the next four years to work out a national strategy to prevent, among other things, violence against women, following popular criticism of the authorities' inability to crack down on sexual harassment, inequality and gender-related crime.

    At present, Sweden already has the Equality Ombudsman, which is a government agency tasked with supervising the laws relating to discrimination on sex, transgender identity or expression, ethnicity, religion or other beliefs, disability, sexual orientation or age.

    The idea of creating yet another government body with a similar agenda stirred criticism across Sweden.

    "I do not think we need any further equality body. All we get is another opinion-making authority with an unclear program," Jonas Ransgård of the Conservative Party argued.

    His party comrade Elisabeth Svantesson argued that the new body will be "a punch in the air."

    "It requires the right kind of policy to break down the huge inequality and the great alienation that many women live in. The new authority will not help the women," Elisabeth Svantesson told the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter.

    The Swedish government also came under fire from Bo Rothstein, a professor of political science, for failing to address gender-related problems in earnest and instead engaging in "symbolic politics."


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    feminism, gender equality, Scandinavia, Sweden
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