Umea is the regional centre of northern Sweden with a total population of 130 224 inhabitants. Students compose almost a third of this population, as Umea is an important town for education, technical and medical research in Sweden, with two universities. Umea is one of the fastest growing city in Sweden and the largest city in the Ovre Norrland region, which is the highest scoring region in the European Social Progress Index, measuring societal development and quality of life at the regional level.
Achieving gender equality in all fields is a core priority of the municipality, which has a gender equality office and a gender equality committee consisting of elected members of the municipal council. The overall goal for gender equality in the municipality is to create conditions for women and men to have equal power to shape society and their own lives, a goal that should permeate the work of all sectors of the municipality.
Umea’s work with gender equality and the ”gendered landscape” method was in 2017 selected as an URBACT good practice, being the only one of the more than 90 examples that focuses on gender equality as a central part of sustainable development. Currently, Umea is the lead partner of the first ever URBACT network on gender equality, with the aim to create an understanding of the city as a place where gendered power structures are always present and develop locally contextualised tools and approaches to work towards gender equality in urban policies, planning, and services.