Sweden, Emma Watson Campaign for EqualityNovember 4, 2015
It’s not often that you’d associate Harry Potter and Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven with one another. Yet, the thread that connects them is an important one.
Emma Watson, the British actress known for her role as Hermione in the Harry Potter films, is a United Nations ambassador for a movement dubbed HeForShe, a campaign to get men involved in gender equality for their moms, sisters and wives. As Watson said in her speech at U.N. headquarters in 2014, “I think it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and decision-making of my country. I think it is right that socially I am afforded the same respect as men. But sadly I can say that there is no one country in the world where all women can expect to receive these rights.”
Sweden is trying to do its part.
This summer, Löfven was among eight heads of state who pledged to help bring gender equality to their respective nations. He cited three areas Sweden can improve: gender-equal working conditions, more women at the top in business and gender-equal health, according to Sweden’s Government offices.
“Few areas in society have such great potentia
l for development as gender equality,” Löfven said in a statement. “A vital part of Sweden’s success story, its growing economy and Swedes’ personal freedom has been that regardless of gender, people can increasingly work, get an education and make their voices heard. Now it is important for this success story to continue.”
Sweden is starting its HeForShe efforts with a solid foundation. The Global Gender Gap Index examines the magnitude of gender-based disparities and tracks their progress. In its 2014 index, Sweden ranked fourth overall in equality in a ranking of 142 countries (the United States ranked 20th).