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Swedish Green Party member and Education Minister Gustav Fridolin and fellow member Isabella Lovin (R) spoke during a press conference at their party headquarters in Stockholm May 9, 2016. Reuters

The Swedish government plans to bar its schools from employing gender segregation across all courses, the country’s education minister, Gustav Fridolin, told the local Sverige SR Radio Saturday.

Fridolin said he did not have a clear idea of the prevalence of separation of girls and boys in Swedish schools, according to the radio station, but painted the ban as a move toward equality, something that can’t be achieved through segregation.

The legislative effort followed anger from parents and students over a southern Sweden school’s two-week Jan. 15 gender separation trial for courses other than science, an attempt to make girls more comfortable with speaking up in class, as well as concern from lawmakers and conservative groups over a Swedish Muslim’s school’s separation of boys’ and girls’ gym classes.

The ban may not surprise longtime residents of Sweden, where an amendment to the 1998 Education Act requires schools to actively combat gender stereotypes, all-girls schools have been outlawed since 1974 and several preschools have been fostering gender neutrality among students. In 2015, the Scandinavian nation added a gender-neutral pronoun to its official national dictionary and topped the list of a study by the London-based market research firm YouGov on perceptions of gender equality in 24 countries. In 2016, the World Economic Forum ranked Sweden fourth worldwide in terms of gender equality, behind its close neighbors, Iceland, Finland and Norway.

Still, the ban may negatively affect girls at the Muslim school. A gym teacher there told local media that the girls felt more secure—free to take off their veils and wear shorts and t-shirts—in a physical education class free of boys and that the quality of the courses were kept the same.

Aside from that particular benefit, gender-based school segregation’s perks are practically non-existent, ample research has shown.

A 2011 study by education researchers from six universities across the U.S. found the practice to be “deeply misguided, and often justified by weak, cherry-picked or misconstrued scientific claims rather than by valid scientific evidence.” Another study, from 2014, found students at single-sex schools to be no better off in their science, math, technology and engineering courses than their co-ed counterparts.

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