A voice for newcomers in Sweden

Sweden eyes gender equality lessons for young refugees

Refugees arriving in Sweden in 2015. Photo: Stig-Åke Jönsson/TT

Published: 16.Feb.2016 08:16 hrs

The Swedish government is considering launching a nationwide course on gender equality, directed at the Nordic country's record-large group of refugees and minors arriving in the country alone.

Integration has become an increasingly thorny issue in Sweden, a country famed for its openness and gender equality, but which has struggled to accommodate a record number of asylum seekers in the past six months.

“In some countries where unaccompanied children are from, I know that you perhaps have an upbringing that is gender segregated, where girls and boys hardly ever meet each other,” Sweden's children and equality minister Åsa Regnér told the TV4 broadcaster.

“It is clear that you then need knowledge about how Sweden works,” she said and added that the government would discuss the idea further later this spring.

The idea follows global discussions about sexual assaults after reports of mass attacks in Cologne, Germany, on New Year's Eve and Sweden's summer music festival 'We are Sthlm' – many of which are said to have been committed by refugees and teens arriving in Sweden alone.

DEBATE: 'Look closer at the facts on sex attacks'

It would also follow in the footsteps of similar models discussed in countries such as Norway and Germany and echoes a proposal by Sweden's sexual education organization RFSU last month.

Campaginers argued that refugee boys arriving in the country alone should be offered a training programme focusing on sexually transmitted diseases, gay rights and gender equality.

However, the idea was criticized by a group representing young asylum seekers in Sweden.

“It's totally wrong to lump all unaccompanied children together. They come from different countries and different cultures. Some are educated while others have grown up in the street and never gone to school,” Omid Mahmoudi from Ensamkommandes Förbund told the TT newswire at the time.

A total of 163,000 asylum seekers – including 35,000 refugee children, two thirds of whom came from Afghanistan – arrived in Sweden over the whole of 2015, according to the country's migration agency, Migrationsverket.

More Stories

Ratiba says living in Sweden will "give a new meaning" to her life.

Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens

Ratiba Hanoush, 28, left Syria for Turkey in 2012 before arriving in Sweden last year. She admits that she still feels like an outsider, but explains why she is happier here than at home. READ
The social media giant had censored a video explaining how women should check for suspicious lumps in their breasts. READ
The spectacular drone footage captures both Sweden's south and the opposite extreme, thousands of kilometres north. READ
Sweden could be allowed to keep ID controls on its border with Denmark beyond the current end date of November, following discussions among EU leaders in Brussels last night. READ
A new study into the gender pay gap suggests Sweden still has some work to do. READ
Justus and Emma

A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage

Closeness, selflessness, and pleasure; falling in love is a strange but wonderful human experience. READ
There's something fishy about the human jawbone – it has its origins in the placodermi, a jowly species of fish that lived 400 million years ago, Swedish and Chinese researchers say. READ
An arson attack in Malmö that caused only minor damage and was barely reported in the media has been claimed by terror group Isis. READ
This tasty cake is an autumn staple in Swedish cafés. Why not make it yourself! READ
The social media giant removed a breast cancer awareness video because it deemed the images "offensive," according to the Swedish Cancer Society. READ

'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'

Syrian programmer Samer Malatialy got an IT job after just over a year in Sweden. His new homeland has all the ingredients to be a global startub hub, he believes, but it needs to embrace more foreign talent and fix a couple of serious bottlenecks. READ