Finland is often regarded as one of the world’s leaders for women’s rights and gender equality, placing second in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report in 2014, rising from third place in 2010.
On International Women’s Day in March 2017, Prime Minister Juha Sipilä announced that Finland would hold the world’s first ever prize for gender equality, with an award sum of 150,000 euros. Let’s exploce The Instances Finland Enhanced Gender Equality below.
The Instances Finland Enhanced Gender Equality
Sexism and gender inequality do still exist in Finland, particularly in regards to the wage gap and employment discrimination, but are not felt on the same sweeping levels as many other European countries. Many believe this is due to a long history of socialist and secular values, stemming back to a time when ancient Finns worshiped female deities and both men and women had to work together to survive. These are some of the top moments over the past century which have improved Finland’s gender equality.
Finland is one of the world’s leading countries in fostering gender equality. It was the first country to grant women full political rights. We want to nurture that legacy. Gender equality is a social innovation that has generated social renewal and prosperity, as the contribution of both women and men has been accessible. Finland propels a worldwide commitment to gender equality. It wants to define the notion in a new way and once again put gender equality in the spotlight.
Finnish Women’s Association
The history of gender equality in Finland arguably started back in 1884 with the formation of Suomen Naisyhdistys, or the Finnish Women’s Association, the first women’s association in Finland and established by author, social activist, and politician Alexander Grippenberg.
The group has gone on to become one of over 50 members of the International Alliance of Women.
In 1906, Finland became the first country in the world to give full voting and parliamentary rights to women, a feat which most other Western nations wouldn’t achieve until after the First World War. In the following year, 19 women, including Alexander Grippenberg, were elected as members of parliament, making up 9.5% of the total seats, a number which has been rising ever since.
Women’s labour input still needed in post war years
In 1930 a new Marriage Act was passed that released married women from the guardianship of their husbands. Already in 1919, married women had won the right to paid employment without needing the consent of their husbands. During the war years, Finnish women kept the wheels turning while the men were fighting at the front.
Women worked in factories, hospitals, and ran large farms. When the war ended they did not return to their homes but stayed in the workplace. It became more usual for women to go out to work. Parliament began to function again at full pace and new political openings emerged. They included the decision in 1948 to provide free school meals for all school children.
Gender equality policy concretized by legislation and conventions
In 1980, Finland attained the first government gender equality programme. The United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women was just a year old when changes started to happen in UN member states. In Finland this meant the drawing up of the Act on Equality Between Men and Women, which entered into force in 1987.
The act prohibits discrimination on the grounds of gender and supports equality between women and men in working life. Other important steps were also taken. The Names Act allowed women to keep their own surnames when married, and for children to choose either of their parents’ surnames. Joint custody was made possible in 1983. The first women priests were ordained in the 1980s. In 1990, Elisabeth Rehn became the first Minister of Defence in Finland and the world.
Women’s Committee on the Sami Council
The Equality Act inspired many sub committees, including a committee of women on the council of the native Sami people. Named Sarahkka after an ancient female deity, it is deeply involved in the politics of the Sami population in Finland, Sweden, Russia, and Norway.
All eligible men in Finland are still conscripted into military training, and in 1995 women were permitted to volunteer for the same training and go on into full time military service.
As police officers in Finland are required to partake in military training, this has also led to a better balance of male and female police officers, which is especially important for vulnerable people who feel more comfortable interacting with a female officer.