Call for Tenders: Report/Study on “The effects of the dismantling of the Swedish welfare state on women”

The romanticisation of the Swedish welfare system and its positive effects on gender equality persists, notwithstanding the substantial dismantling of the welfare state in recent decades and Sweden’s drop in gender equality rankings. Unlike elsewhere in Europe, this development reflects an impact not so much of the last economic crisis when the government did not pursue the politics of austerity seen across much of the continent. Rather it is the effect of a long-term policy response to the earlier recession of the 1990s and 2000s which introduced fundamental changes to the Swedish economy, economic policy and welfare system.

The adoption of New Public Management in the running of public services with the aim to “modernise” the public sector, i.e., to make it more efficient and cost-effective, but also to increase functionality and accountability, has arguably eroded the safety net once provided by the welfare state. Owing both to sectoral and occupational segregation of the labour market as well as the persistent gendered division of reproductive and care work, women are particularly at risk to being negatively affected by welfare reform.

The Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung Brussels is calling for tenders to write a report/study on the gendered effects, both direct and indirect, of welfare reform in Sweden, the impact it has had on gender relations broadly, and the responses developed by feminist activists and political actors on the left.

Specifically, tenders are asked to:

  1. Explain the political, economic and social context that led to the destructive changes in the Swedish welfare system.
  2. Analyse the direct effects of NPM, privatisation and deregulation of the Swedish public sector on women’s participation in the labour market and use of public services as well as the effects on the quality of public services and conditions for claiming them.
  3. Analyse any indirect effects of welfare erosion on, for example, divorce rates, violence against women, and reproductive rights.
  4. Review how feminist activists and political actors on the left have addressed gendered implications of the dismantling of the welfare system?
  5. Provide recommendations based on the results from the report on (a) How a feminist approach to economic, financial, social policy and an alternative to the current practice would look like? (b) Who could be partners and allies for implementing such an approach?
  6. Employ sound empirical data, both quantitative and qualitative, including own data from interviews and/or other fieldwork, if applicable.
  7. Adopt an intersectional approach/methodology throughout.

Formal requirements:

  • Total word count approx. 10,000 words (excluding bibliography).
  • Report to be written in English.
  • Availability for presenting results of the report highly desirable, subject to negotiation.
  • Availability for producing a short video interview on results of the report for publication on the RLS Brussels website desirable, subject to negotiation.


Submission of an abstract (750-1,000 words) indicating focus/aspects covered and structure of report/study, specifying the methodology applied and data that will be used, a comprehensive CV including list of publications, and calculation of costs (please state if you are liable to VAT or exempt) by 2nd September 2019, 10:00 hours CET.

  • Notification by 6th September 2019.
  • Submission of full draft report for comment by 4th November 2019.
  • Submission of revised report by 22nd November 2019.
  • (Further loops, including language editing in December 2019 or early 2020.)
  • Publication in early 2020.
  • Presentation of report and video production in spring 2020, if applicable.
  • After completion of services: Invoice to Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung after completion of agreed services.

What we offer:

  • Up to 6,000 EUR, VAT excluded. This fee includes a lump sum to cover any travel and incidental expenses for additional interviews/fieldwork if applicable;
  • Publication of report online and as a hard copy, which will be available free of charge.

Applicants are advised that renewal of this contract is not envisaged.

Application process:

Please send your proposal of 750-1,000 words outlining the proposed focus/aspects covered and structure of report/study, specifying the methodology applied and data to be used, as well as a comprehensive CV, list of publications and calculation of costs to by 2nd September 2019, 10:00 hours CET to Ada Regelmann at