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Women and men in Sweden. Facts and figures 2020

Money, power and education – the statistics point to persistent inequalities

Statistical news from Statistics Sweden 2020-06-17 9.30

The level of education is higher among women than among men. In spite of this, women have lower salaries, lower incomes and, eventually, lower pensions than men. Statistics also show that women feel more stressed than men as early as in school. These are but a few items you can read about in “Women and men in Sweden 2020,” which is being published today.

The education level is rising for both women and men, and more women than men continue to have a post-secondary school education. Women have better grades than men, both in year 9 and in upper secondary school. At thse same time, 34 percent of girls aged 12–15 feel stressed due to homework or exams, compared with 17 percent of boys. This stress increases with age. In the ages 16–18, more than every second girl and one in five boys feels stressed due to homework or exams.

Preparatory programmes for post-secondary education are more common among pupils with a foreign background

Women and men chose different programmes in upper secondary school. Women are more likely than men to choose a preparatory programme for post-secondary education. The higher the level of education of the parents, the higher the proportion of both women and men who choose a preparatory programme for post-secondary education. In addition, pupils with a foreign background are more likely to choose such a programme than pupils with a Swedish background.

Foreign-born women have the lowest employment rate

From an international perspective, Sweden has a high employment rate among both women and men. However, there is a major difference between those born in Sweden and those born in another country. The difference is greatest among women; 87 percent of women born in Sweden are employed, compared with 66 percent of foreign born women. The employment rate is 90 percent for men born in Sweden and 78 percent for men born outside Sweden.

Unemployment is highest for foreign born women with a compulsory school education

Employment is highest among those with a post-secondary education and lowest among those with a compulsory school education, regardless of whether they are born in Sweden or abroad. The same applies to unemployment; it is higher among those who are born abroad and have a compulsory school education. In this group, 37.5 percent of women and 24.8 percent of men are unemployed.

Young women are subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace

It is most common for women below the age of 30 to be subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace. One in ten women below the age of 30 state that they have been subjected at least once in the last 12 months by managers or colleagues, and one in four state that they have been subjected at least once in the last 12 months by other people.

Lower pensions for women

Women still have lower average salaries than men. The difference in salaries is largely due to the fact that women and men work in different occupations and sectors. When occupation, education, age, working hours and sector are considered, women are paid 95 percent of men’s salaries. In 1996, the corresponding figure was 92 percent of men’s salaries.

Women work part time more often than men, take more paid parental leave, care more often for sick children and have a higher number of sick days. This leads to a lower income than men, which also leads to a lower pension at the end of their working lives. On average, women have 69 percent of men’s pensions, and this difference increases by age.

New statistics in this booklet show that capital income and capital gain among people who were registered in the population in Sweden throughout the year amounted to SEK 356.5 billion in 2018, of which 32 percent were held by women and 68 percent were held by men.

The largest gender gap was in the distribution of payment of interest and various forms of dividends on shares. The total amount was SEK 132 billion, of which 21 percent was held by women and 79 percent was held by men.

Capital income and capital gain are very unevenly distributed. The ten percent of the population with the largest capital income held 95 percent of the total amount in 2018. Capital income is also unevenly distributed between the sexes. In all age groups, except among children, men have larger capital incomes than women. In 2018, women held one-third and men held two-thirds of these incomes.


“Women and men in Sweden” was first published in 1984 and is published every other year in Swedish and in English. The booklet presents statistics on the terms for women and men in Sweden within many areas.

The full publication is available on Statistics Sweden’s website.

Women and men in Sweden 2020

Feel free to use the facts from this statistical news but remember to state Source: Statistics Sweden.

Statistical agency and producer


Helena Löf

+46 10 479 67 64

Matilda Sydvart

+46 10 479 63 44