The Living Lab
Sweden is an industrialised and urbanised country with a population of 10 million inhabitants, and covering 450 000 km2, with large, sparsely populated rural areas. About one third of the population live in rural areas, and many rural regions in Sweden experience out-migration particularly young women, moving to major towns or the capital Stockholm (Rauhut and Littke, 2016). A strong feature of the Swedish context is the publicly-funded child care, health care, elderly care and social care. Parents can take 18 months paid parental leave financed through the tax system. The Living Lab is focusing on Jönköping County, characterised as a region having a ‘traditional gender contract’ (Forsberg, 1998), and close to the bottom of ‘gender equality lists’ in Sweden (SALAR, 2016). It has a comparatively low share of women in municipal political bodies, a large degree of gender segregation in the labour market, and a large gender pay gap (Länsstyrelsen, 2017). Men own four out of five farms, while forestry is more evenly distributed among women and men, and around 9 per cent of women and 18 per cent of men in rural areas are self-employed, corresponding to the national numbers (Sköld et al., 2018).