New Swedish parliament ‘most gender balanced ever’

The newly elected Swedish parliament is the most gender balanced in its history. When the new Riksdag meets for the first time on October 2nd, women will be better represented then ever.

Of the 349 parliament members, 47 percent are women (164 people). After the last election in 2002, women made up 45.3 percent of parliament.

Sweden remains the second most gender-balanced parliament in the world, after Rwanda, where 48.8 percent of representatives are women, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union. The next most successful country in Europe is Norway, where 37.9 percent of seats are held by women.

Both the Liberal Party and the ousted Social Democrats managed to have an even 50/50 split. Center leader Maud Olofsson demanded earlier this week that the new government consist of a similar balance.

Moderate leader and soon-to-be Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said people would be appointed based on qualifications.

Olofsson has a bit to go before she has an even gender balance in her own party. Only 38 percent of Center Party parliament members are women, a lower figure than after the 2002 election. Only the Christian Democrats have figures lower.

“We have increased the total parliament members and increase is mostly made up of men,” said Jöran Hägglund, Center Party secretary. “But we still have as many women in parliament as earlier. And we still have the only female party leader and parliamentary leader, so we are pretty happy in any case.”

The Left Party has the most uneven balance with 14 of the 22 parliamentary members being female.