Parties: Feminist Initiative

The Feminist Initiative (also called FI or F!) was organized as a political pressure group in April 2005 with the lead taken by former Left Party leader Gudrun Schymann and feminist author and critic Ebba Witt-Brattström.

After months of ”will they or won’t they?” speculation in the press, FI announced in September 2005 they would run as a party in Sweden’s 2006 parliamentary elections.

The party originally said it was going to transcend the left-right political divisions. But early on it began to show more of a left wing profile. There were fears it would take votes not only from the ruling Social Democrats, but also from their Left and Green party parliamentary allies.

The first public opinion poll gave the Feminist Initiative some 7% of voter support, only half of original estimates, but still possibly enough to knock the Left and Green parties out of parliament, and with them the minority Social Democratic government. 

Since then splits and defections have apparently marginalized FI. The most high-profile was Ebba Witt-Brattström, who announced on August 23, 2005 she was leaving the party’s executive committee. On September 13 former Liberal Susanne Linde, who was the only member of the founding group from a right of center political party, left FI completely.

The criticism seems to have been against the party taking a more left wing position, as well as the radical lesbian agenda of the controversial feminist academic Tiina Rosenberg, who later also left the executive committee.

In the most recent polls support for FI had fallen too low to measure.