Gudrun Schyman

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Gudrun Schyman
Gudrun Schyman in August 2014
Leader of Feminist Initiative
In office
6 March 2013 – 28 october 2018
Serving with Sissela Nordling Blanco (since 2011)
Leader of the Swedish Left Party
In office
Preceded byLars Werner
Succeeded byUlla Hoffmann (Interim)
Member of the Riksdag
In office
3 October 1988 – 5 September 1997
In office
8 October 1997 – 2 October 2006[note 1]
ConstituencyStockholm County
Personal details
Gerd Gudrun Maria Schyman

(1948-06-09) 9 June 1948 (age 75)
Täby, Sweden
Political partyClimate Alliance
Other political
Left Party (until 2004)
Feminist Initiative (2005–2022)
Alma materSocialhögskolan i Stockholm

Gerd Gudrun Maria Schyman (born 9 June 1948) is a Swedish politician. She served as leader of the Swedish Left Party from 1993 until January 2003. She remained a member of the Left Party until 2004, when she left to focus entirely on her feminist political work after a tax evasion scandal. She remained an independent member of the Riksdag until 2006. She co-founded Feminist Initiative in 2005 and was its co-spokesperson from 2005 to 2011 and from 2013 to 2019. She left the party in 2022.

Leader of the Left Party[edit]

In 1993, Schyman was elected leader of the Left Party. Schyman's greatest asset was her appeal to the voters, and her party more than doubled its number of MPs during her leadership. She gained popularity for her candor: for example, she was open about her struggle with alcoholism and supported an initiative to make the Riksdag an alcohol-free workplace.[1] During her period as party president, the party adopted feminism as an ideological basis. In 2003, she was charged with and later found guilty of misleading the tax authorities by attempting to take illicit tax deductions.[2] She was temporarily succeeded by Ulla Hoffmann.

In 2002, she made a controversial speech concerning men's oppression of women, in which she said "The discrimination and the violations appears in different shapes depending on where we find ourselves. But it's the same norm, the same structure, the same pattern, that is repeated both in the Taliban's Afghanistan and here in Sweden".[3][4]

In October 2004, Schyman together with other MEPs of the Left Party proposed before the Riksdag, a national assessment of the cost of men's violence towards women; furthermore they demanded that the state fund women's shelters.[5] The proposal attracted wide attention, with the media calling it a "man tax".[6]

Founder of the Feminist Initiative[edit]

Schyman left the Left Party in 2004, and in 2005 co-founded Feminist Initiative (Fi), an organization which at its first congress decided to contest the coming parliamentary elections. Jane Fonda supported her in 2006, during the party's campaign prior to the 2006 Swedish general election. Fi received only approximately 0.7% of the vote, well below the 4% threshold required for parliamentary representation. In the 2009 European Parliament election in Sweden, the party received 2.22% of the vote.[7]

In the summer leading up to the 2010 Swedish general election, Schyman burned 100,000 Swedish krona in a protest against unequal pay in Sweden. The stunt, staged by advertising collective Studio Total, gave Fi widespread attention;[8][9] however, the party received only 0.4% of the vote in the election.[10]

The 2014 European Parliament election in Sweden proved to be the party's most successful election so far; it attracted 5.3% of the national vote, with Soraya Post taking one seat as an MEP.[11] In the 2014 Swedish general election Fi received 3.1% of the vote; despite still not meeting the 4.0% threshold for getting seats, it became the most popular party outside of the Riksdag.


  1. ^ She represented the Left Party until she left it in 2004; she then sat until 2006 as an independent politician.


  1. ^ Therésia Erneborg, "Gudrun Schyman: Det är alkohol-industrins vinstintressen som styr," Archived 2011-10-01 at the Wayback Machine Dagen March 1, 2003, retrieved July 26, 2011 (in Swedish)
  2. ^ Åsa Kroon and Mats Ekström, Vulnerable woman, raging bull or mannish maniac?: Gender differences in the visualization of political scandals, Working Paper 4, 2006, Örebro University: "Gudrun Schyman — Leader of the Left Wing Party 1993 – 2003," pp. 7–8, "The Schyman scandal," pp. 9–14 (pdf)
  3. ^ Sjölund, Jill (October 9, 2006). "Jämo: Ni är ju som talibaner". Aftonbladet (in Swedish). Archived from the original on November 16, 2006. Retrieved May 18, 2007.
  4. ^ Text of so-called "Taliban Speech" to 2002 Congress of the Left Party (in Swedish)
  5. ^ Gudrun Schyman et al., Motion 2004/05:So616 Ansvaret för mäns våld mot kvinnor, Sveriges Riksdag, October 5, 2004 (in Swedish)
  6. ^ "Schyman in equality policy shock: tax men," The Local October 5, 2004, retrieved July 26, 2011.
  7. ^ "Val till Europaparlamentet - Röster" (in Swedish). Election Authority (Sweden). June 11, 2009. Archived from the original on August 12, 2010. Retrieved June 29, 2009.
  8. ^ "Swedish feminists burn cash in wage equality protest". BBC News. July 6, 2010.
  9. ^ Fredrik Wass, "TV: Här bränner Gudrun Schyman 100 000,", July 6, 2010, retrieved July 26, 2011 (in Swedish)
  10. ^ "Val till riksdagen - Röster" (in Swedish). Election Authority (Sweden). September 23, 2010. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
  11. ^ "Preliminary results of Swedish EU elections". Archived from the original on 2014-05-28. Retrieved 2014-05-26.
Preceded by Leader of the Swedish Left Party
Succeeded by