Case No. GRA 2017/56 – The Swedish Equality Ombudsman v. “the Foundation”: Decision from the Swedish Equality Ombudsman regarding gender -based separation on school bus and in gymnastics classes

Five notifications regarding discrimination of students by a Foundation were made to the Equality Ombudsman after the broadcast of a TV program. In the program, the students of a school owned by the Foundation were separated by gender on the school bus. The Equality Ombudsman’s investigation noted that a gender-based separation was also made in the gymnastics classes. According to Chapter 2 Section 5 of the Swedish Discrimination Act, it is prohibited for an education provider or an employee of the provider to discriminate against any child or student that participates in the school’s operations. For gender-based separations not to constitute discrimination, either the activities of the groups must be equivalent, without any student finding it disfavoring to be separated by gender, or the separation must be limited to moments where the students’ gender is of such importance that they are not in a comparable situation. The Equality Ombudsman ruled that the separation of the students in the gymnastics classes constituted a risk of one or more students being discriminated against for gender and transgender identity or expression. However, the separation on the school bus was not found to constitute a risk of violation of the Discrimination Act.



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