Today, Sweden has elected a new prime minister and tomorrow our new government takes office. This power shift occurs during troubled times, to say the least—a world filled with uncertainty, conflicts, democratic deficit and lack of respect for human rights and women’s rights.
What is needed now is a government committed to working across international borders to help people affected by conflict, to support the brave human rights defenders fighting for their rights and for democracy in an increasingly authoritarian world. Instead, one of the first interventions of the new government will be to abandon the commitment of investing 1% of GNP in international development aid and thus cut Sweden’s support to some of the most vulnerable groups in the world.
This is a great disappointment and something that will have serious consequences for women and girls and the struggle for gender equality across the world.
We still do not know exactly how this will play out and we do not know what our new government will prioritise in an upcoming aid budget. Ahead of these decisions being made, we urge the new government to think about what kind of voice Sweden wants to be in the world.
Right now, we live in a world where women’s rights are questioned and weakened. In a world where a young woman can be killed by the so-called morality police for wearing her veil the wrong way. We live in a world where women in the United States have lost their legal right to their own bodies and where women in Turkey are learning that their government is withdrawing from the convention that prohibits men’s violence against women.
In this environment, we urge Sweden’s new government to maintain a feminist foreign policy with a strong voice for women’s rights globally—and to continue to provide the support needed to build a more just and equal world.
—Petra Tötterman Andorff, Secretary-General