Gender equality matters in Finland

The brand new equality barometer published by the Statistics Finland tells what people think about gender equality. Since 1998, the Statistics Finland has conducted six gender equality barometers. The latest barometer was conducted as phone interviews during the fall 2017. The representative sample consisted of 3,000 people between the ages of 15-74, living in Finland. 56 percent of them participated in the interviews.

Here, I just pick one topic that I find attention-grabbing to note. For the first time the interviewees were asked about the equality plans in the workplaces. According to the Equality Act, an equality plan must be worked out every other year in the workplaces, in which over 30 employees are working regularly.

According to the barometer results, as many as 40 percent of the respondents working in workplaces with over 30 employees did not know whether an equality plan existed or not in the workplace. Further, only slightly over 25 percent said that they had an equality plan at their workplace. Moreover, what is also worth to stress is that about one third said that an equality plan did not exist in their workplace, which still had over 30 employees.

There were no big gender differences among the respondents. However, with higher education or age, it was more likely that the interviewees reported of an existing equality plan. Further, I find it striking that in the state sector, only 28 percent of female employees, but almost half (47 percent) of male employees, reported that they had an equality plan at the workplace.

I think that the results tell that the equality plans are surprisingly poorly known among the employees in Finland, although the equality plans are extremely useful in proceeding gender equality in everyday working life.

Päivi Korvajärvi 

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