An equitable society safeguards the resources and competence of every individual, and is achieved when men and women, boys and girls have equal rights, conditions and opportunities, as well as the power to shape their own lives and have their say in society. As most women work in the informal sector, often with low productivity and low incomes, poor working conditions and a low level of social protection, they become invisible, as does their development potential.
When a large number of women in a country are given work, poverty is reduced and the country benefits from greater social fairness and it is highly likely that growth will increase in that country. Women use up to 90 percent of their wages to lift their families out of poverty (the corresponding figure for men is 40 percent) and invest to a greater degree in education for themselves and for their children.  This means that giving a woman a job triggers a long chain of positive effects, for society, for the prospects for peace and for democracy. In this way, we can reverse generations of living in poverty.
If we increase the number of women at all levels in a company, this increases a company’s ability to make a profit. The empowerment of women is a vital part of Swedfund’s work and is one of two thematic areas in Swedfund’s business plan to be considered regardless of the sector or region in which the investment takes place or the instrument that is used.
Equality has been high on Swedfund's agenda for many years, and in 2015 also our Owner's instructions raised gender equality to an even higher level of importance.
Swedfund’s remit from its owner requires Swedfund to measure how the proportion of women in senior management teams in Swedfund’s investments changes over time. In addition, Swedfund has opted to monitor the proportion of women out of the total number of employees, as well as the proportion of women on the boards of investments.
The mission objective states that the proportion of men and women in senior management must show a positive trend/converge over a five-year period, with a base year corresponding to the investment year. In Swedfund's Integrated report 2018 we show inter alia the following results for our portfolio companies (in 2017):
- • The proportion of women in senior management in Swedfund’s investments amounted to 25% in 2017, an increase of three percentage points from 2016.
- • The proportion of women out of the total number of employees amounted to 40% in 2017, indicating a decline of two percentage points from 2016, but an increase of seven percentage points from 2015.
- • The proportion of women on company boards has fallen slightly over the past two years and amounted to 16% in 2017.
 hglobalcitizen.org 10 reasons why investing in women and girls is so (2014).