me Modem Law Review
Both these prescriptions can be applied specifically to the promotion of sexual equality.
But they also indicate a more general concern with eradicating other aspects of inequality
in Swedish society, and the means by which this objective has been pursued.
to equality of opportunity is apparent from policies such as the opposition to educational
selection. This has been intended to assist children from poorer families, or those lacking
an educational background. Moreover, beyond the establishment of formal equality of
opportunity, there has been a preoccupation with equality of result which can be traced
back to the rise of labour unions and earlier traditions in the Nordic co~ntries.~
Promoting equality through the welfare state has been a high priority in the Nordic
regi~n,~ and income transfers have been financed by high taxation. In addition, Swedish
labour market policy, superimposed on the social security system, has been a practical
means of advancing equality.6 The maintenance of full employment, reinforced by
the public sector, has been a cornerstone of contemporary political
programmes. Swedish trade unions have operated a wage solidarity policy in collective
bargaining aimed at the reduction of income differentials. The strong ties between unions
and the Social Democratic Party are apparent in the latter’s support for wage solidarity
in its labour market p01icy.~ Parity in private and public sector incomes has also been
an objective. The consequences of wage solidarity and maintenance of this policy were
elements, alongside social control of investment and broader ownership of capital, in
controversial proposals formulated in the
for wage-earner funds.* Laws providing
for security of employment, protection
union officials and worker participation in
corporate decisions were also enacted at this time.9
Wageearner funds and a more egalitarian power structure in industrial relations involved
the pursuit of industrial and economic democracy
a third stage after political and social
democracy in Sweden.l0 Swedish political institutions have also been modified in the
interests of a more egalitarian society: immigrants who are foreign nationals, but satisfy
a residence qualification, are entitled to vote in municipal and regional elections.”
Finally, reforms of domestic relations law demonstrate the modification of traditional,
divisive moral conventions.
This persistent emphasis on equality has been an indispensable feature of Social
Democratic Party policy in Sweden, and in the ideology of Swedish social democracy.
ideology which has had a favourable environment in which to operate. Alva Myrdal’s
comment was that
democracy could not develop successfully in Scandinavia with its
advantageous conditions, it would probably not work anywhere.
insistance on equity
has broadened into the pursuit of equality and, it
been suggested, has now been instilled
in the social fabric.I4 However, although equity and equality have been described as
7he New Sweden
(New York, McKay. 1967) p324;
4 See Einhorn
Logue ‘The Scandinavian Democratic Model’ (1986)
Scandinavian Political Studies
the Nordic Werfare State
(Copenhagen, Amtskommuemes og
Full Employment and Public Policy
(Lexington Mass, Lexington Books. 1983) p122.
Swedish Social Democracy
(Oxford, Oxford UP. 1989) p107; H.
(Clarendon, Oxford. 1986) p200.
note 7, pp138, 146.
et a1 op cit
note 4, p197; N. Elvander
Scandinavian Social Democracy: Its Strengths
(Acta Universitatis Uppsaliensis, Uppsala. 1979) p20.
Immigrant Voting Rights and Electoral Turnout.
(Stockholm, Swedish Institute, 1985).
Bradley ‘Radical Principles and the Legal Institution of Marriage.’
Nation and Family
(New York, Harper. 1941) p15.
14 See Milner,
note 7, p67.
(London, Granada. 1971) p113.
kommuernes forskningsinstitute. 1983) p23.
Policy and Politics in Sweden
(Philadelphia, Temple UP. 1987) pl17.