Löfven pushes gender equality
In anticipation of the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome on March 25, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven told EU leaders that he wants gender equality to feature prominently in the summit's declaration on the future of Europe. Löfven, who considers his administration the world’s first feminist government, was encouraged to emphasize the economic benefits of increasing the rate of women in the workforce: “It’s not just a question of what is right, it’s about growth and what’s productive. And it’s not just about justice, it’s about explaining to the other leaders how this can help Europe.” This is a divisive issue, another in a long list of controversial matters; some leaders responded with a strong warning about highlighting gender equality as an affront to their countries whose social policies are very different and could experience a weakened internal market.

Finland Park memorial
Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Carl Philip attended a wreath-laying ceremony with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö on March 13, the anniversary of the end of the Winter War 77 years ago. The ceremony, which took place at the Monument of Finland in Finland Park in Stockholm, honored the memories of volunteers for Finland’s freedom during the Winter War, a three-month military conflict (1939-40) between Finland and the Soviet Union. During the conflict, Finland received the help of more than 8000 Swedish volunteers.

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Sweden's excellent public transportation
While giving the U.S. a dismal report card for its transportation infrastructure, the American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) named Sweden the world’s leader in traffic safety while still providing a high level of accessibility. Jonathan Levine, an urban planning professor at the University of Michigan, says Sweden invests heavily in transportation infrastructure and doesn’t build its cities around the automobile. "There’s been a long tradition of a government interest to serve the public — public interest is still number one.” Also high on the list are Norway, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Denmark for their very highly developed infrastructures.

Grattis på namnsdagen Victoria
March 12 is the day all of Sweden celebrates everyone named Victoria, and especially the Crown Princess. Last year Crown Princess Victoria was celebrating the birth of Prince Oscar, born just two weeks earlier, so the Victoriaday celebration was canceled. But this year, the tradition was back on track with the young Princess family standing before a crowd during a public celebration in the castle courtyard. As always, it included a tribute concert, salutes from the guards, and bouquets a flowers with cheers from those in attendance. It was a cold day, but the popular royal greeted all those who come to take part in her celebration. The Royal Flower Foundation, a nonprofit that raises funds for Crown Princess Victoria's Fund for young people with disabilities or chronic disease, offered her a check earlier in the day.