THE MODEL OF EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES OF SWEDEN – GUIDELINES FOR LITHUANIA
Keywords:Swedish equal opportunity model, gender equality, gender mainstreaming, dual-breadwinner model, 3R method, gender asymmetry.
The present demographic situation in Europe, with low birth rates and ageing populations, highlights the
impact of gender relations and family life on economic development. According to a growing body of research,
countries that fail to restructure their societies in line with modern women‘s demands for equal rights and responsibilities
un the risk of curbing population growth, accelerating the ageing of the population, and, in the longer
term, slowing down economic growth.
In Sweden, gender equality has occupied an important place in the general political debate since the 1990s.
This is reflected in a strong emphasis on gender equality as a means of enhancing quality-of-life throughout society.
The opportunity for both men and women to fulfill themselves, based on their personal qualifications, results in
higher quality-of-life and the maximum utilization of human potential. Gender equality is considered a constitutional
right in Sweden, since it has been part of swedish law since 1974. In many contexts, people also refer to the
Scandinavian welfare state model as being particularly favorable to women, a model that has made it possible for
women to combine parenthood and work.
Gender mainstreaming is one of the most frequently used methods for achieving gender equality. In concrete
terms, the gender equality perspective is incorporated into the mainstream of every political area.
One of several tools for review and analysis of gender equality is the 3R method (3R means as follows:
Representation, Resources and Realities). It was developed in Sweden and has primarily used by local authorities
to review and analyse influence among women and men in municipalities. The method involves developing quantitative
data, figure and information, which then provide the basis for qualitative analysis of the operation. It serves
as an aid in systematically compiling facts and information about the circumstance of women and men in a given
situation. The tool basically answers the question: who receives what and on which terms?
Gender equality is usually understood as an issue of political and social rights. In Sweden, however, the
struggle for gender equality has also been closely linked with long-term economic and social concerns. Swedish
gender equality policies build on a strong tradition of pro-natalist and supportive social policies. This demographic
tradition makes the Swedish experience highly relevant to the current European debate about declining birth
rates and population ageing.
The Swedish welfare state is based on a dual bread-winner model. Sweden has adopted a gender-neutral
concept of social citizenship. The state uses separate taxation, generous public day-care provision for pre-school
children, and extensive programmes of parental leave to encourage married women/mothers to remain in gainful
employment. The Swedish dual breadwinner model contrasts sharply with the predominant European welfare
state model, which was designed around the single (male) breadwinner. It is necessary to ensure gender equality in Lithuania. The most important condition for that is removing out
of dominant patriarchal attitude and stereotyped roles in Lithuanian society, labour market and overall market
economy. The disproportions in distribution of duties and responsibilities between women and men in the family
have to be shifted, because society keeps women as housewives more significant than women as gainful employment
and career. This attitude makes relevant presumption to discriminate women in occupational and economical
Although Lithuanian law provides equal rights and opportunities for women and men, however in real life this
official rules are not so easy realizable.
In order to implement equal opportunities of gender, it must be formed a new attitude towards women’s and
An active policy of women labour market have to be established in case to implement the idea of equality. The
main tools of it are as follows: support employment of women, who have children, making conditions for flexible
job occupation and combine parenthood and work. The development of day-care provision service for children and
increase of it’s quality, make opportunities for fathers to integrate into household economy as well.