Reflections from Stockholm forum on gender equality

Photo: Moa Haeggblom/Government Offices of Sweden

The Stockholm Forum on Gender Equality was held on 15–17 April 2018 and gathered more than 700 participants from over 100 countries and a multitude of sectors and functions.

The discussions covered a broad range of areas and focused on concrete methods and tools to enhance gender equality and the full enjoyment of rights, representation and resources for all women and girls.  

The hallmark of the Forum was co-creation. This included:

  • A broad nomination process in which CSOs and other partners joined the Swedish Foreign Service, the Swedish Institute, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA) in suggesting participants.
  • A co-owned agenda inspired by the participants themselves and what they reported as being the greatest challenges to gender equality.
  • A collaborative process in which partners, collaborators and participants developed and organized seminars together and in close dialogue with the Swedish Institute.


  • A unique Forum constituting a global and vibrant manifestation and mobilisation for gender equality and the full enjoyment of human rights by all women and girls.
  • A powerhouse of inspiration co-created by, and further invigorating, a multitude of gender champions from all over the world.
  • A total of 29 interactive seminars and roundtable discussions that were co-organised with participants and – thus – contributed to substance, methods and partnerships.
  • A platform for non-stop sharing of experiences and best practices, both within and across sectors, policy areas and regions.
  • A wealth of new and further developed initiatives, commitments and partnerships focused on areas such as creating awareness, legislative change and capacity building, involving countries from all over the world.
  • A number of launches of new tools, such as a ‘Women, Business and the Law’ report from the World Bank Group.
  • A Call to Action to counter the shrinking space and to increase support for women human rights defenders, drafted and presented by the Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation with partners and other women’s rights activists.
  • A broad communicative reach. During the week of the Forum alone the hashtag #GenderEqualWorld reached almost 3 million people, trending in countries such as Australia, India, the US and the UK, and also achieving huge reach in countries such as Brazil, Canada, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, France, Iraq, Poland and Turkey.
  • A wide range of articles and news broadcasts in traditional media around the globe.
  • A distinct contribution and push for the efforts to implement the SDGs as well as CEDAW and other relevant conventions, resolutions and agreements.
  • A starting point for discussions in new constellations, including in the form of a first cross-sectoral Feminist Think Space held back-to-back with the Forum and co-hosted by UN Women and the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and cofacilitated by UN Women and Sida.

Next steps

  • Building on the momentum and capitalising on the results of the Stockholm Forum on Gender Equality, Tunisia will host the conference Tunis Forum on Gender Equality in 2019.
  • Participants are pursuing a number of other initiatives linked to and/or inspired by the Forum.
  • Participants can continue to register initiatives, commitments and partnerships resulting from or connected to the Forum on the Forum website:
  • The Swedish Institute will post documentation from all the seminars and roundtables on the website. Together with other outcomes of the Forum, the documentation will serve as a library of best practices and a platform for continued networking.
  • The Swedish Institute will develop a tool kit so that Swedish embassies and other stakeholders can take the Forum and its outcomes further in their respective context.
  • Sweden commits to implementing the 2018 action plan for feminist foreign policy and launching a handbook on how to conduct a feminist foreign policy. Sida will operationalize the new global development cooperation strategy for gender equality.
  • Sweden will present the documentation and results of the Forum to UN Women, as well as cooperate with UN Women and other partners on following up the Forum, including by disseminating and drawing on the best practices and experiences shared.
  • Sweden will continue the dialogue with partners interested in arranging events inspired by and following up the Forum.

Swedish Government