A country that is no stranger to their global rankings was recently named the best country in the world for women by BAV Consulting and the University of Pensylvania’s Wharton School of Business.

Asa Regner, Sweden’s Prime Minister since 2014, credits the ranking to decades of advocating on behalf of women’s rights and putting systems in place in the federal government to support women in the workplace and in life. There have been factors that have contributed to their success.

Individual Taxation

Although the tax rates are very high, how people are taxed could contribute to women’s empowerment. Since 1971, everyone files their taxes separately, even married couples. Individual people receive social security benefits based on their needs, not their family’s collective needs. According to Renger, “We target individuals regardless of gender to take up paid work. And I think that that kind of thinking, and that we did all of that in the seventies and are still very conscious of that, creates a positive cycle that gets politicians to do things.”

Parental Leave 

Sweden’s parental leave policy is the most generous in the world. Parents get 480 days to share — paid out at 80% of their salaries — which they can use until the child turns 8. Additionally, fathers get 90 of those days reserved just for them. This policy encourages Swedes to cultivate a work-life balance and promote family balance. Ample research has proven that this policy is ideal for bringing women into the workforce.

Company Audits

Renger has been working on ensuring that companies stick to Swedish law that mandates equal pay for equal work. The Swedish Discrimination Act, signed in 2008, requires companies of 25 or more employees to issues surveys every year analyzing the pay differences between men and women. Companies with big differences between genders who don’t take steps to close the gap risk paying fines.

Renger’s efforts to make the country a better place for women have ultimately made the country a better place for everyone.

Source: Business Insider