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Feminist Initiative (Sweden)

Feminist Initiative
Feministiskt initiativ
Spokesperson Gudrun Schyman, Sissela Nordling Blanco
Founded 4 April 2005[1]
Headquarters Stockholm
Youth wing Young Feminists
Membership 20,000 (2015)[2]
Ideology Feminism[3]
Radical feminism[4][5][6]
Political position Left-wing[7][8][9][10][11]
International affiliation None
European affiliation European Feminist Parties Coordination Board[12]
European Parliament group Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats[13]
Colours Pink
0 / 349
European Parliament
1 / 20
County councils[14]
0 / 1,597
Municipal councils[15]
26 / 12,780
Politics of Sweden
Political parties

Feminist Initiative (Swedish: Feministiskt initiativ, abbreviated Fi or F!) is a feminist political party in Sweden. The party was formed (from a previous pressure group of the same name) in 2005,[16] and announced on 9 September 2005 that it would put up candidates for the 2006 parliamentary elections in Sweden.

After running in the consequent two Riksdag elections, as well as the European Parliamentary election of 2009, Fi had not taken any seats in either parliament. The European elections of 2014 proved a turning point, as the party attracted 5.3% of the Swedish vote, with Soraya Post taking one seat in the European Parliament.[17] This marks the first time an exclusively feminist political party won a seat in the European Parliament.

In the 2014 general election, Fi received a best-ever 3.1% of the vote; despite not meeting the 4.0% threshold for getting seats, Fi became the most popular party outside of parliament.


  • Founding of the pressure group 1
  • Founding of the political party 2
  • Defection to the party 3
  • Public support and election results 4
  • First Executive Committee 5
  • Major events 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Founding of the pressure group

The original pressure group was presented at a press conference[18] in Stockholm on 4 April 2005. The announcement was preceded by a large number of rumours of a new feminist party. In particular, the rumours were concerned with the growing feminist movement around Gudrun Schyman, a former leader of the Swedish Left Party and at that time independent member of the Riksdag. Schyman is one of Sweden's most prominent political feminists and had attracted attention when she in 2004 asked how society and men would take responsibility for the violence against women. This question came in the form of an investigation, which was dubbed "man tax" by Swedish journalists since they assumed that was how the problem would be resolved.

At the press conference the founding members stressed that Fi was not yet a political party. The question on whether or not to stand for elections was postponed until further notice. In 2008 it was stated that the organisation was a political party that will stand for elections. In 2009 Feminist Initiative stood for the European Parliament election and got 2.2 percent. In 2010 they stand for the national, regional and local elections.

Founding of the political party

Following the introduction of the pressure group, things happened quickly. Six days later the Fi website announced that the association now had more than 2500 members. Regional and local groups of Fi were announced on the website regularly. Fi's first annual national conference was to be held in Örebro on the 9–11 September 2005 and some 200 motions were submitted.

The inaugural assembly gathered some 350 members (still lacking a formal structure the participants choose to regard themselves as independent members rather than delegates from regions or local groups). The agenda included three major decisions: the establishing of a political party, formulation of a party agenda and organisational matters (notably a decision on chairperson). On 9 September 2005 the decision was taken to organise as a political party and stand for the parliamentary general election 2006. Media also focused attention on what came to be called "the decision to campaign to abolish marriage" and the current state-recognised cohabiting partnerships, and instead introduce a new Cohabitation Act (Swedish: sammanlevnadsbalk) which would encompass a new legal status for private relationships between more than two people, irrespective of gender, thereby possibly opening up for polygamy. In reality, the decision was to enlarge the marriage law, so as to include any form of voluntary cohabitation.

Regarding the organisational matters, the conference decided to appoint three executive committee members as their spokespersons (Swedish: talesperson). So far it has, however, not been made clear to the public what the powers and functions of these spokespersons are. It was also decided that men can hold offices within Fi, upon which two men were elected to the executive committee.

Interest from the media has been unusually keen, and mostly negative. Government money for feminist research projects has been questioned and Professor Tiina Rosenberg was accused of plagiarism by political scientist Johan Tralau, citing a 2000 book review of Rosenberg's "Byxbegär" ('Wearing the trousers').[19][20] After a review of the alleged errors in the book, Rosenberg's faculty at the Stockholm University deemed the matter unnecessary to investigate further. Rosenberg left Fi October 2005, citing media attention and criticism directed toward her research and person as the reason, claiming to be the target of a deliberate antifeminist campaign instigated by right-wing lobbyists.[21] Some of the statements attributed to Tiina Rosenberg, such as "women who have sex with men are traitors to their sex" were criticized as too radical for the party by some other leading Fi members like Susanne Linde and Ebba Witt-Brattström as well.[22] This led to worsening personal conflicts within the party, with both Linde and Witt-Brattström distancing themselves from the party.[23][24]

In the days before the Swedish election on 17 September 2006, American actress Jane Fonda came to Sweden to support the party's election campaign.[25]

Defection to the party

On the 1 March 2006, Liberal People's Party's MEP Maria Carlshamre defected to the Feminist Initiative, while remaining within the liberal ALDE group. She explained her defection with “a lack of consideration for feminist issues among her former colleagues.”[26]

Public support and election results

According to surveys made in 2005, as many as 10% might vote for the party. However, in the 2006 general election, the party got 0.68%. The reason for Fi's drop in popularity is believed by some to have been a result of increased radicalism in its platform and its activities.[27] A party needs 4% to get into the Riksdag. In the 2009 European elections, the party improved its result, getting 2.2% of the national vote. This was not enough to get a seat in the European Parliament. It has been speculated that one reason for the improvement was the 1,000,000 Swedish kronor donation made to the party by former ABBA member Benny Andersson.[28]

In the 2010 election Fi saw a slump in support compared to 2006, falling from 0.68% to 0.40% of the vote.[29] Fi did however managed to become the third biggest party in the southern municipality of Simrishamn with 8.9% of the votes, giving them 4 seats in the city council.[30]

The 2014 European Parliament election proved to be the party's most successful election so far, as the party attracted 5.3% of the national vote in Sweden, with Soraya Post taking one seat as an MEP.[17] In June 2014, the party announced that its single MEP would join the Socialists and Democrats group in the European parliament.[31]

They appeared in the 2014 Swedish General Election on 14 September.[32] In its campaign, the party was supported by American recording artist Pharrell Williams.[33] Despite missing the electoral threshold, the Fi received the largest share of votes outside of parliament. It also greatly increased its share of representation in municipalities, gaining seats in 13 municipalities.[34][35]

First Executive Committee

The first Executive Committee included Ann-Marie Tung, Anna Jutterdal, Cecilia Chrapkowska, Gudrun Schyman, Helena Brandt, Lotten Sunna, Maria Jansson, Monica Brun, Monica Amante, Sandra Andersson, Sandra Dahlén, Sofia Karlsson and Tiina Rosenberg.

Major events

In 2005 Jane Fonda and Eve Ensler supported Fi by joining the election tour in Sweden.[36] Jane Fonda also donated 400,000 Swedish Kronor for the campaign.[37] In 2009 Benny Andersson, one of the members of the group ABBA, donated one million kronor for the European Parliament campaign.[38]

In July 2010, the party burned 100,000 Swedish kronor ($13,000; £8,500) in a protest against unequal pay.[39] Fi wanted to draw attention to its proposal for a government fund for equal pay. The money that was burned had been donated by the advertising agency Studio Total, and the event got major publicity around the world.[40] In 2010, the Swedish electro group The Knife also donated money to the party.[41]


  1. ^ The decision to run for election to the Swedish parliament was taken at congress 9 September 2005.
  2. ^ "Swedish feminist party launches in Oslo". The Local. March 27, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Swedish feminist party wins EU seat with anti-racism drive". Reuters. May 26, 2014. 
  4. ^ Gender and Sexuality Studies Washington University in St. Louis Mona Lena Krook Assistant Professor of Political Science and Women (2 March 2009). Quotas for Women in Politics : Gender and Candidate Selection Reform Worldwide. Oxford University Press. p. 129–.  
  5. ^ Lundqvist, Åsa (2011). Family Policy Paradoxes: Gender Equality and Labour Market Regulation in Sweden, 1930-2010. p. 126. 
  6. ^ a b "Sweden feminists roar into political arena". Al Jazeera. 19 Aug 2014. 
  7. ^ "Parties: Feminist Initiative". Radio Sweden. February 24, 2006. The party originally said it was going to transcend the left-right political divisions. But early on it began to show more of a left wing profile. 
  8. ^ "Swedish feminist party launches in Oslo". The Local. March 27, 2015. ...the party is often criticised in Sweden as little more than a vehicle for Schyman, a maverick politician who combines radical left-wing politics with brilliant skills in self-promotion and debate. 
  9. ^ "Feminist Initiative hopeful in election bid". Radio Sweden. September 9, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Center-left holds on to lead in Swedish elections: SVT projection". Reuters. September 14, 2014. 
  11. ^ "ABBA-Backed Feminists Poised to Make History in Swedish Vote". Bloomberg. August 28, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Europas feminister utmanar i EU" (in Svenska). 7 August 2013. Retrieved 13 December 2014. 
  13. ^ "Fi till S-grupp i EU-parlamentet". Dagens Nyheter. Retrieved 7 Jun 2014. 
  14. ^ "2014: Val till landstingsfullmäktige - Valda", Valmyndigheten, 2014-09-28
  15. ^ "2014: Val till kommunfullmäktige - Valda", Valmyndigheten, 2014-09-26
  16. ^ Charlotte Rosen Svensson (15 November 2009). CultureShock! Sweden: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette. Marshall Cavendish International Asia Pte Ltd. p. 29–.  
  17. ^ a b "Preliminary results of Swedish EU elections". Retrieved 2014-05-26. 
  18. ^ "Schyman launches "Feminist Initiative" - The Local". Retrieved 2010-12-06. 
  19. ^ "Feminist professor accused of plagiarism - The Local". Retrieved 2010-12-06. 
  20. ^ "Här är ju ännu fler plagiat, Tiina - Debatt". Retrieved 2010-12-06. 
  21. ^ "Hot mot genusforskningen tvingar mig välja bort Fi" (in Svenska). 2005-10-13. Retrieved 2010-12-06. 
  22. ^ """Fi: "Kvinnor som ligger med män är könsförrädare. September 10, 2005. Retrieved 2014-07-16. 
  23. ^ """Tiina om Ebba: "Hon ska ha en fet smäll. September 27, 2006. Retrieved 2014-07-16. 
  24. ^ "Avhopp från Feministiskt Initiativ". September 12, 2005. Retrieved 2014-07-16. 
  25. ^ "Jane Fonda FI:s galjonsfigur för en dag" (in Swedish). Metro International. September 9, 2006. Retrieved January 1, 2015. 
  26. ^ "Convicted Liberal defects to feminists - The Local". Retrieved 2010-12-06. 
  27. ^ Ekman, Ivar (20 October 2005). "Swedish feminism put to the test". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  28. ^ "Schyman kommer att göra skillnad" (in Swedish). 
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^ Fi ska ingå i den socialdemokratiska gruppen i EU-parlamentet · Feministiskt initiativ
  32. ^ "Valprognosen: Feministiskt initiativ kan bli vågmästare - Valåret 2014 - Nyheter - Aftonbladet". Aftonbladet. Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  33. ^ Orange, Richard (14 September 2014). "Pharrell Williams supports feminist party leader in Sweden".  
  34. ^ Anna H Svensson (16 September 2014). "Kommunerna där Fi tar plats". (in Svenska).  
  35. ^ "Val till kommunfullmäktige - Valda, Mandatfördelning per kommun" (in Svenska).  
  36. ^
  37. ^ "FI sätter hoppet till Gudrun Schyman" (in Swedish). Dagens media. May 26, 2010. Retrieved January 1, 2015. 
  38. ^ Carl Magnus Palm (20 February 2014). Abba: Bright Lights Dark Shadows. Music Sales Limited. p. 833–.  
  39. ^ "Swedish feminists burn cash in wage equality protest". BBC News. 6 July 2010. Retrieved 15 March 2013. 
  40. ^
  41. ^

External links

  • Feministiskt initiativ (In English)
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