Banner showing the Umeå municipality was runner-up in iCaptial 2018

Umeå - a progressive and gender equal city

Pedestrian crossing road sign depicting a woman to promote gender equality

Umeå is often described as a progressive, aware and gender equal city. For decades, gender equality has played a central role in the development of Umeå. Today it's not only a politically adopted goal that women and men should have equal power to shape society as well as their own lives, but also the city is working innovatively with gender equality in its city planning.  

Important years in the development of gender equality in Umeå (a selection)

1971 Kvinnofronten, a party-political independent organisation arguing for female rights, is formed 1972 The Umeå-branch of Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Rights (RFSL) is founded

1976 Umeå university gives it first course in women studies with the title Gender roles

1979 Kvinnojouren, a women’s shelter, is founded in Umeå

1981 The feminist radio show Radio Ellen has its first broadcast from Umeå

1983 House occupation by women as part of a fight for a Women’s House in Umeå (“Kvinnohusockupationen”)

1989 The city of Umeå becomes national test pilot for local work in municipalities with gender equality

1994 The formation of the municipal gender committee

1996 A new strategy for gender equality work in Umeå municipality is adopted

1997 Umeå university is designated the first Swedish professorship in gender studies

1998 A new action plan for the work with gender equality within Umeå municipality is taken. The gender perspective is now to permeate all work in the municipality

2008 The start of Umeå Centre for Gender Studies (UCGS), a merger of The Graduate School of Gender studies and the Centre for Women's Studies. UCGS is one of three research environments in Sweden appointed as a Centre of Gender Excellence by the Swedish Research Council.

2009 New projects focusing on gender perspective within city planning and security are initiated. One of these is a guided bus tours around the city called The Gendered Landscape city tour.

2014 The Feminist Party (Feministiskt initiativ) is elected to the municipal council (3 chairs)

2014 The Museum of Women’s History is opened

2016 Opening of “Freezone”, a park built in collaboration with young women in the city centre to create a space where everyone can feel safe and welcome

2016 Development of a Virtual Reality component to the Gendered Landscape city tour, making it available also on the internet

2017 “Freezone” is showcased as an example of Swedish architecture from a democratic perspective during the architecture week Archtober in New York

2017 The method “The gendered landscape” is awarded “Good Practice for sustainable urban development” by URBACT. It is the only example in Europe with a focus on gender equality.

Umeå municipality were runner up in 2018's European Capital of Innovation