How gender equal are the Swedish municipal councils?

By Karthik Muthuswamy

Sweden will elect its new representatives on September 11th.

Among the lesser known elected officials are the 12,700 members of the municipal councils - the decision-making body governing each of the 290 municipalities of Sweden.

The Swedish national parliament and the 21 regional councils have all achieved gender parity. But not all municipal councils are equally represented by men and women, according to an analysis on the data from Valmyndigheten.

This analysis reveals the most unequal municipalities and parties in Sweden.

Around three-fourth of the municipalities are equally represented by men and women. That is, both men and women represent at least 40% and at most 60% in each of these municipalities

In other words, around one-fourth of the municipalities are dominated by one gender – men

...and no municipality is dominated by women

Helena Löf, an expert in equality statistics at Statistiska centralbyrån, said: "Considering the 60–40 principle, Sweden has reached gender parity in 1994 and has since then remained the same. Is the gender parity truly achieved if it has always been that women is close to 40% and men close to 60%"?
If we consider the 50% principle, 90% of the municipalities are dominated by men

Trelleborg is the most unequal municipality represented by nearly 75% men

Among the five most men-dominated municipalities, four of them – Trelleborg, Gnosjö, Båstad, Svedala – are in Skåne county. The fifth one is Ljusnarsberg in Örebro county

The unequal representation in the municipal councils is due to the differences among political parties - not all parties are equally represented by men and women

Sverigedemokraterna is the only men-dominated party in Sweden

Moderaterna and Kristdemokraterna have barely equal representation with almost 60% dominated by men

The top three men-dominated parties are all political positioned on the right. Along with Liberalerna, these parties currently form the opposition


Here you can explore the representations in Swedish parties. Click on a group to choose one.

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Method and data

Data can be found here.

Do you want to give feedback or just want to discuss something? Did you find something interesting while exploring the graphs? It is potentially a new story! Your thoughts/suggestions are highly valuable to me - don’t hesitate to contact me.

Visualisation made with Flourish and Scrollama.

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