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[ European Commission, DG V ]

© Sept 2001

European Database: Women in Decision-Making

Gender Mainstreaming Strategies in Finland

1. Action plans on Gender Mainstreaming

Did national, regional and/or local governments in your country launch a plan aiming to implement equal opportunities for women and men in all fields of policy while at the same time ensuring that persisting gender gaps are being addressed by positive action?
YES

If so, please indicate:

Official name of plan(s) in original language:

1) Pekingistä Suomeen: Suomen hallituksen tasa-arvo-ohjelma
(From Beijing to Finland: The Plan of Action for the Promotion of Gender Equality of the Government of Finland, 1997)
which included a special mainstreaming project called Valtavirtaistamisprojekti

2) Valtavirtaistamisprojekti (Mainstreaming Project)

1) The first part of the Equal Opportunity Programme Promoting Equality by Mainstreaming included a plan for implementing mainstreaming principle in state administration.

2) On the basis of the Equal Opportunity Programme of the National Government (see point 1) and its objective to promote gender equality by mainstreaming, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health launched a three-year (1997-2000) MAINSTREAMING PROJECT in collaboration with five other Ministries.

Date when plan was presented and launched:

1) The Plan of Action for the Promotion of Gender Equality of the Government of Finland (5.2.1997) was passed by the Parliament of Finland in February 1997.

2) The Mainstreaming project started in 1997 and ended in 2000.

Essential objectives and features:

1) The Plan of Action for the Promotion of Gender Equality of the Government of Finland (1997) (for now on - Action Plan.).

The promotion of gender of gender equality in all walks of life is called mainstreaming. Implementing the mainstreaming principle is a key item on the agendas of the Beijing Platform of Action, the Fourth Medium-Term Community Action Programme on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men (1996-2000) and the Equality Programme of the Nordic Council of Ministers, 1995-2000. (Action Plan, p. 1.)

The Finnish Constitution and the Gender Equality Act form a basis for the mainstreaming actions. In recent years the general obligation of public authority to promote gender equality has been integrated into Finnish legislation. The related acts form the basis for the adoption of the mainstreaming principle in public administration and more generally in Finnish society. (Action Plan, p. 2.)

According to the reform of the Constitution Act that was completed in 1995, gender equality shall be promoted in social activities and in working life. In the same year the provision in the Act of Equality between Women and Men (the Equality Act) concerning the obligation of authorities to promote gender equality was complemented by a statement whereby all authorities shall act in a determined and methodical manner and remove any obstacles to equality. According to the mainstreaming principle, such measures must be taken in all sectors of public authority. Furthermore, the Equality Act prescribes that government committees, municipal bodies and the executive and administrative bodies in public authority and municipal and state-majority companies shall comprise an equitable proportion of both women and men*. (Action Plan, p. 2.)
* (NOTE: that, for example, this point in Government's Gender Equality Plan fulfils the condition: "…while at the same time ensuring that persisting gender gaps are being addressed by positive action?" presented in FCZB-question.)

The mainstreaming plan concentrates on implementing the mainstreaming principle in public administration saying that "the promotion of equality between women and men must be an overriding principle in all decision-making related to public administration and also when planning and taking measures and evaluating their impact. A condition for successfully implementing the mainstreaming principle is that decision-makers and the persons responsible for drafting proposals be fully committed to advancing equality. For this purpose they must have sufficient basic information on the status of women and men in all sectors of social policy, acquired for example from gender-specific statistics, studies, impact analyses and scientific research. Equality is promoted not only by obligating ministries and other authorities to do so, but also by highlighting the gender perspective in certain branches of administration." (Action Plan, p. 3.)

2) The Mainstreaming project (Valtavirtaistamisprojekti) included in the Plan of Action for the Promotion of Gender Equality (Action Plan, p. 2-8) started in 1997 and ended in 2000. The sub-projects in the Ministries were based on this Plan of Action as well as on the mainstreaming project of the Nordic Council of Ministers.


MAINSTREAMING PROJECT

Quantitative goals and timetables (as well as actors involved):

Even nine mainstreaming projects introduced in the Gender Equality Plan of the Finnish Government were to be carried during the period 1997-2000. Six ministries (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Ministry of Labour and Ministry of Environment) participated in this project developing the methods for implementing gender mainstreaming in public administration (1-6). The Ministries were free to choose the pilot projects in their own field of action. In addition, there was a project organised by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health for the purpose of developing methods for the implementation of gender mainstreaming (and publishing the reports of the six Ministries) directed by Ms. Liisa Horelli (7), Project by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health for the evaluation of the effects of the equality act (8), and still another plan launched by the Association of Finnish Local Authorities (9). In addition the Action Plan mentions plans for Training at the highest level (10), Developing statistics (11) and Promoting research (12).

*

The descriptions of the plans of these mainstreaming projects (1997-2000) aimed to develop methods for implementing mainstreaming in the public administration as well as the reports of the pilot projects in each Ministry, which took part in this effort and other actors and mainstreaming projects involved are presented in the following:

Mainstreaming project develops equality in state administration

The purpose of the mainstreaming project is to develop methods for promoting equality that can be applied in state administration. It forms part of the equality between the sexes mainstreaming project of the Nordic Council of Ministers and is being implemented in collaboration with various ministries. The ministries taking part in the project each have development projects of their own:

  1. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs' mainstreaming project has consisted of training in the Ministry's administrative sector in preparation for Finland's EU presidency.
  2. The Ministry of Education's project applies to the control of youth policy. The principle running through the activity of the youth and sports units is an endeavour to enhance the position of women and girls, to relax gender roles and to transform power structures and cultures, which discriminate against women and girls.
  3. The first phase of the project to be implemented in the structural unit of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry's agricultural department will comprise a pilot survey of equality mainstreaming. The drafting of ordinances by the unit will then be analysed and evaluated.
  4. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health's mainstreaming project relates to the development of the labour protection department's personnel.
  5. The Ministry of Labour's project applies to the development of its work processes and work organisation. It will also be engaged in a quality project in its immigration division.
  6. The Ministry of the Environment is investigating the equality between the sexes mainstreaming project.
    Source

    In addition there was a project, financed by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and directed and carried out by Liisa Horelli and Milja Saari aimed to develop and test administrative practices as well as special methods and instruments for mainstreaming in general. The report of this project is in the net (in Finnish, only): www.eurofem.net/valtavirtaan.

    1) Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    Plan (1997):
    As laid down in the Equality Plan of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry will consider the equality principle when preparing matters and following and participating in international debates on the issue. The gender perspective is realised in having women participate equally with men in planning and decision-making. The Ministry strives to promote gender equality in budgeting as well as in operating and economic plans. The long-term objective of the Ministry is to abandon special equality plans and instead to use the general operating and economic plans of the Ministry as the framework of equality projects. (Ministry in charge: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) (Action Plan, p. 3.)

    Report (2001): Source

    Mainstreaming projects: Training of diplomats; training of gender equality contact persons; establishing a new gender equality network; gender accounting (evaluating gender balance among personnel).
    Original names in Finnish: Diplomaattikoulutus, tasa-arvoyhdyshenkilöiden koulutus, uuden tasa-arvoverkoston perustaminen, henkilöstötilinpäätöksen alustava valtavirtaistaminen.
    Date: The project started 1997.
    Main objectives: Mainstreaming of all the training organised by the Ministry. The pilot project of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs changed during the period (1997-2000) so that efforts were made to mainstream decision-making particularly during the Finnish Presidency of the European Union; firstly, by including the objective of gender equality in the work of the Finnish civil servants dealing with EU issues during the Finnish Presidency as well as mainstreaming these issues from the gender perspective. Another project was to include mainstreaming principle in the (basic) training program required for the service in the Foreign Ministry. This was decided to start from the next course leading to the diplomatic carrier and which was the course of international relations. The third step was a special training to educate contact persons for gender equality issues organised in autumn 2000 as well as gender accounting. The objective was to mainstream equality in all activities and plans of the Ministry.
    Target groups: civil servants dealing with EU issues during the Finnish Presidency as well as mainstreaming of the issues prepared by them. This objective was, according the report of the Ministry, really difficult to achieve, since the first period of the Finnish Presidency was itself so demanding that they could not carry it through. Gender equality, in terms of the gender composition of the personnel dealing with EU issues, was however, quite successfully achieved (meaning that there were a lot of women among the people working with the EU issues during the Finnish Presidency). Another target group was civil servants trained for diplomatic career (gender mainstreaming included in their training program). The third step was a special training to educate contact persons for gender equality issues organised in autumn 2000 and gender accounting.
    Methods (what was done): Including one-day-long gender equality course in the basic training of the future diplomats and gathering feed back of gender equality questions and problems.
    Problems: emerged both in setting targets and formulating the realistic outcomes of the policies aiming to achieve these targets. Conflicting views were presented about the gender equality course mentioned above - according to the evaluations of the participants, gender equality issues were regarded both as "very interesting" and "totally useless", the average result being that gender equality matters are interesting and training in order to understand them is important.
    Achievements: Concluding remark is that training of gender equality matters is really necessary and that this should be offered for the newcomers - i.e. at the very beginning of the career. In addition, a Gender Equality Network of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ulkoministeriön tasa-arvotyöryhmä) was re-established.

    2) Ministry of Education

    Plan (1997):
    The mainstreaming principle has been applied to several equality issues at the Ministry of Education, and new applications are constantly being sought. The Ministry stresses the importance of mainstreaming especially in sports and youth policy. (Ministry in charge: Ministry of Education) (Action Plan, p. 3.)

    Report (2001): Source

    Name of the mainstreaming project: Gender Equality in Youth Policy
    Original name in Finnish: Tasa-arvo nuorisopolitiikassa (TASANUPO)
    Date: project started in spring 1997.
    Objectives: To produce methods of evaluation for youth organisations, municipalities as well as for the regional and provincial bodies by which they could themselves evaluate both their own activities as well as regional and local youth policy. Particular theme for this evaluation is equality in youth policy and work (in addition to gender equality, also social equality as well as equality by age, and region). The mobilisation of young people to develop their local and regional surroundings is an additional goal of this project.
    Target groups: TASANUPO-project was divided into three parts:
    1) Gender equality in national youth organisations as well as in associations for youth work and youth services. The project was carried out by a questionnaire in connection with the applications for state subsidies by of the youth organisations.
    2) Gender equality in regional and structural politics and
    3) Projects of gender equality and developing immediate surroundings were put together and developed to act as regional self-evaluation projects. Two provinces were chosen as target regions for this pilot project.
    Methods (what was done): A researcher from the University of Technology took part in the project and a steering group including the representatives of the Ministry of Education, youth organisations, the field of research and the mainstreaming project was directing the project. Think tanks were arranged in both pilot regions in order to develop instruments for evaluation (an "assessment file"). So, it was the users of this assessment file, which were themselves defining key questions. In spring 2000, two seminars were organised in both regions in which assessments files were evaluated and discussed. The closing seminar of the project was organised at national level in 13th of June 2000, in Helsinki. The results of the regional projects and the practicality of the methods developed in them were discussed there, while it was concluded that this process was useful in evaluation of different organisations as well as regional and local activities and policies.
    Problems: Equality between sexes seemed to be an unknown or strange concept particularly for young people and they seemed to be unable to take stand on this issue. Young people gave hints of gender inequality in youth work in their responses, but indirectly. Transferability of the results and the method demands regional and local activity. The method requires considerable training of its users and obviously regional consulting assistance in order to function efficiently.
    Achievements: TASANUPO project produced methods for the evaluation of gender equality in the field of youth work (assessment file) and a model of organisation of the internal evaluation of gender mainstreaming.

    3) Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry

    Plan 1997: The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry promotes gender equality according to the mainstreaming principle in its entire administrative branch. There will be increased research and statistics on women's employment and economic status, women will continue to be provided with counselling and training and the compilation of gender-specific statistics on income formation will be introduced in order to improve administrative services. (Ministry in charge: Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry) (Action Plan, p. 3.)

    Report (2001): Source

    Name of the mainstreaming project: Project for developing methods for gender mainstreaming
    Original name in Finnish: Tasa-arvon valtavirtaistamismenetelmien kehittämishanke
    Date: project started in autumn 1997.
    Objectives: In the Plan of Action for the Promotion of Gender Equality of the Government of Finland also the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry was committed to mainstream gender equality in all its activities. The objective of the mainstreaming project was to develop methods for the evaluation of gender impacts of the regulations prepared in the Ministry as well as methods to evaluate gender equality impacts of the routine activities of the unit.
    Target groups: When starting the project the Unit of Rural Areas and Structures within the Department of Rural Areas of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry was acting as a pilot unit for policies developed in the project.
    Methods (what was done): Ms. Leena Kirjavainen (Oy Widgari Consultants Ab) took part in the mainstreaming project as an expert. Thereafter, a Gender Equality Network of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (Maa- ja metsätalousministeriön tasa-arvotyöryhmä) established in the end of the year 1999 has continued to develop gender mainstreaming in the Ministry on the basis of the mainstreaming project. Practically, gender impacts of the activities of the Ministry were examined by initiating the personnel into the methods of working as well as by using teamwork.
    Problems: were faced due to the lack of instruments and methods as well as information of the content of gender mainstreaming. It was also found that a Gender Equality Network of the Ministry (the network of contact persons of gender equality in the Ministry) should have been established at earlier stage. This would have led to better preparation of the mainstreaming project in the whole organisation and would have helped to strengthen the commitment to the project among the managers/directors and all the units of the Ministry.
    Achievements: Gender impacts of the policies aimed to develop rural areas are paid more attention both in preparing and implementing of these policies. The original objectives of the Mainstreaming project - to get decision-makers and public administration in general to commit themselves to gender mainstreaming, to increase the expert knowledge in this field and to systematically promote gender equality in all the activities of the Ministry -started along with the project and, especially, along with the establishment of the Gender Equality Network of the Ministry. Furthermore, the Ministry has committed to continue gender mainstreaming directed by the Gender Equality Network of the Ministry and in co-operation with the leadership of the Ministry. New methods to implement mainstreaming are prepared in the Ministry, such as training courses of management skills, which includes the skills to take account gender equality perspectives in management as well as gender accounting. Mainstreaming gender equality in all the activities of the Ministry will be the objective of the Gender Equality Network of the Ministry as well as the whole organisation, in the future, too.

    4) Ministry of Social Affairs and Health

    Plan (1997):
    Promoting gender equality in all its aspects is one of the basic responsibilities of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. Every year, the Ministry prepares a number of reforms that affect the everyday life of citizens. In the future, the role of these reforms will be scrutinised even more carefully as early as in the preparatory stage. (Ministry in charge: Ministry of Social Affairs and Health) (Action Plan, p. 4.)

    Report (2001): Source

    Name of the mainstreaming project: Mainstreaming of the Professional Skills Project within occupational health and safety administration
    Original name in Finnish: Tasa-arvion huomioonottaminen työsuojeluhallinnon ammattitaitoprojekteissa
    Date: in occupational health and safety administration mainstreaming project was included in the Professional Skills Project, which started in the years 1996 and 1997.
    Objectives: to develop a model and a way of thinking which would help to mainstream both personnel policy and activities and which would be a part of professional skills.
    Target groups: the first target groups were the regional inspectors and clerical employees of the districts offices of the occupational health and safety administration.
    Methods (what was done): gender equality was included in all the training either as one module or in as many training modules as possible. Attention was paid to the knowledge of both clerical workers and inspectors in the field of gender equality.
    Problems: the biggest problem was negative attitudes: Even though the personnel in case had positive attitudes towards gender equality, gender equality was not regarded as a problem or if so, it was regarded as being taken care of. Only a small part of the people who planned the training and teachers was really committed to gender mainstreaming. There is neither Gender Equality Network of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health nor contact persons in gender equality, which left the project apart from other activities. The other departments of Ministry of Social Affairs and Health did not participate in the mainstreaming project excluding gender accounting. The promotion of gender equality in the whole Ministry would require establishment of the Gender Equality Network. In the field of occupational health and safety, the concept of equality is understood very extensively: in addition to gender equality, inequality is understood to include all kind of discrimination based on age and ethnical background as well as having to do with getting on in work and to paying special attention to small work places.
    Achievements: in spite of these difficulties, the mainstreaming project increased the attention paid to gender equality issues in training and made gender equality more visible. The project has in its part increased the co-operation between the Authorities of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration and the Gender Equality Authorities in terms of how the inspectors can promote the gender equality planning in work places.

    5) Ministry of Labour

    Plan (1997):
    While the Ministry of Labour observes the mainstreaming principle in its administrative branch in general, it is especially aware of its importance in employment management. Attention is paid to the gender perspective in all decision-making, including preparations, implementation and monitoring. Monitoring must include equality analyses. Improvements are being made whenever results and observations give cause of doing so. (Ministry in charge: Ministry of Labour)(Action Plan, p. 4.)

    Report (2001): Source

    Name of the mainstreaming project: The project for developing methods for gender mainstreaming in the Ministry of Labour
    Original name in Finnish: Tasa-arvon valtavirtaistamismenetelmien kehittämishanke työministeriössä
    Date: starting from 1997 and continued in many forms during the years 1997-2000.
    Objectives: to integrate gender mainstreaming to all routine work of the organisational reform of the Ministry as well as of some fields of labour policy (Action Plans of Employment Policy of Finland, NAPS, suppressing gender segregation in the labour markets, national training programme, gender accounting etc.)
    Target groups: varied from the whole personnel of the Ministry to the members of the individual work groups.
    Methods (what was done): In connection with the organisational reform of the Ministry, the objective was to increase the proportion of women among the leadership of the Ministry. Other methods included diversifying the tasks of the clerical employees, increasing the resources for gender equality work, evaluation of the gender balance of the personnel before and after the organisational reform of the Ministry. Other wise the activities used were training and initiating the personnel into the gender equality problems, networking, gender impact assessment, gender accounting etc.
    Problems: A great task with small resources (changing the ways of thinking and modes of action): support of the top-level leadership but no enough training for the middle level management. Still only a small group is responsible for gender equality issues and mainstreaming, efforts of mainstreaming gender perspective have not been successful. A lack of the systematic initiation of the leadership and personnel into the gender equality problems.
    Achievements: Reforms concerning gender equality organisation of the Ministry of Labour and labour administration were carried out which strengthened the gender equality work and added resources for it. New people were recruited in gender equality work. Organisational knowledge and information for long-term gender equality work was created. Ministry of Labour was the first Ministry, which applied gender accounting. Integrating mainstreaming into the strategies and training at national level has started.

    NOTE that this project was aiming to increase women's representation in decision-making*

    6) Ministry of Environment

    Plan (1997):
    The Ministry of Environment develops environmental and community policy according to the objective of gender equality. To this end, practices are laid down that improve the opportunities of both women and men to participate in environmental and community policies. (Ministry in charge: Ministry of Environment)(Action Plan, p. 4.)

    Report (2001): Source

    Name of the mainstreaming project: Gender Equality Perspective in planning, evaluation and decision-making concerning environment: Case: the implementation of new land use legislation and the new construction legislation.
    Original name in Finnish: Tasa-arvonäkökulma ympäristöä koskevassa suunnittelussa, arvioinnissa ja päätöksenteossa: tapauksena uuden maankäyttö- ja rakennuslain täytäntöönpano
    Date: starting from 1997 and continued in many forms during the years 1997-2000.
    Objectives: The objective of the pilot project of the Ministry was to understand the significance of gender equality and the connections between gender equality and environment questions as well as to find modes of actions and methods to integrate gender perspective in planning, evaluation and decision-making concerning environment. The project aimed at activating women to use the opportunities opened up by a new Land Use Legislation and legislation concerning permitted building volume to participate in town planning and promoting the quality of their living environment.
    Target groups: In addition with the Ministry and one of its departments (alueidenkäyttöosasto), Gender Equality Council and women's associations with women's expert network (see below) took part in this project.
    Methods (what was done):
    1) Women's expert network from 1990s was re-established.
    2) A seminar was organised and a publication and a brochure published.
    3) A method was networking. Along with the building of the network the female experts delivered information to active women in municipalities.
    Problems (i.e. what the project did not have, J.K.):
    1) Promoting gender equality in activities requires gender equality in personnel policy.
    2) In order to be effective gender equality work needs active support from the leadership/management of the organisation and a clear assignment.
    3) There are several dimensions and temporal layers, which all are present in gender equality work.
    Achievements: A new opening in gender equality work. A Gender Equality Network was established in the Ministry.

    NOTE: This project seemed to be directly aimed at women and emphasised women's perspective instead of "equal treatment perspective" and created positive actions for promoting gender equality * (NOTE: that this also fulfils the condition: "…while at the same time ensuring that persisting gender gaps are being addressed by positive action?" presented in FCZB-question.)

    7) Developing methods for the implementation of gender mainstreaming

    Plan (1997):
    For the purpose of developing methods and producing the necessary reports, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health will launch in 1997 a project for developing and testing administrative practices in line with the mainstreaming principle. Models will be created for applying this principle to the preparation of government proposals and to budget and information control. The project is part of a larger mainstreaming project prepared by the Nordic Council of Ministers and implemented in co-operation with other ministries responsible for developing the mainstreaming principle. (Ministry in charge: Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in co-operation with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Ministry of Environment) (Project/ the Ministry of Social Affairs of Health: Developing Mainstreaming Principle) (Action Plan, p. 4.)

    Report (2001):
    Source:
    An application and a plan of the project and the report Tasa-arvo valtavirtaan (Gender equality into the mainstream), published in: www.eurofem.net

    Name of the mainstreaming project: Developing methods for the implementation of gender mainstreaming
    Original name in Finnish: Tasa-arvon valtavirtaistamismenetelmien kehittämishanke
    Date: February 1998-December 2000
    Objectives: Developing methods to integrate the promotion of gender equality in preparing, decision-making, implementing and monitoring as well as evaluation of the activities and policies of public administration i.e. taking account gender impacts of their activities. To produce the final report of the whole mainstreaming project of the Government also in the net. The project has a steering group directed by Secretary-General Leila Räsänen from Gender Equality Office.
    Target groups: The project was co-ordinating the other six mainstreaming projects in the Ministries by steering and directing the developing of the methods and reporting of the pilot projects; the aim of the project was to refine the working methods used in Ministries' pilot projects so as to develop (general) models of action and methods for mainstreaming.
    Methods (what was done): The project was carried out by Itsesuunnittelu Oy (ITSU) and its researchers PhD Ms. Liisa Horelli and Mr. Janne Roininen (later also Ms. Milja Saari). Methods and models of action were created which would form and maintain the infrastructure for mainstreaming, instruments for promoting expertise in an organisation and among personnel, modules for mainstreaming training as well as methods of assessment of legislative proposals from the gender equality perspective. Administrative practices, which would promote gender equality, were created while they would strengthen commitment to gender equality.
    Achievements: A really useful report of the methods ("mainstreaming kit") developed for mainstreaming in public administration available, unfortunately only in Finnish: www.eurofem.net

    This report includes: the reports of all the mainstreaming projects carried out on the basis of the Government's Plan of Action for Gender Equality (1997-200), descriptions of perspectives and methods for gender mainstreaming (including SUVA- gender impact assessment), a guide for training of mainstreaming, a glossary for mainstreaming and gender equality (including English-Finnish glossary), and a review of gender equality policies in Finland.

    Just some excerpts from the Report:
    Three different approaches for gender mainstreaming (by Liisa Horelli, translated with some reformulations (underlined) by Jaana Kuusipalo:

    Equal Treatment Perspective
    (from 1890 onwards)

    • Strategy: promoting human rights
    • Objective: equal (=similar) rights and duties
    • Norm: male
    • Metaphor: justice
    • Epistemology: knowledge is expert knowledge from outside
    • Government's reaction: women's suffrage, legislation
    • Gender contract: housewife, female citizenship: social motherhood

    Women's Perspective
    (from 1960 onwards)

    • Strategy: women's empowerment, positive actions
    • Objective: (revaluation of) cultural femininity, sexual politics
    • Norm: femininity, difference
    • Metaphor: creative difference, joy
    • Epistemology: knowledge is (inter)subjective, knowledge is phenomenal, based on experience
    • Government's reaction: legislation, different forms of welfare state, experts of women's issues
    • Gender contract: "gender equality contract", female citizenship: "working mother" Gender Perspective (from 1980 onwards)
    • Strategy: mainstreaming gender equality
    • Objective: relations and positions between women and men, praising difference, changing gender system and gender blindness
    • Norm: obscuring gender norms
    • Metaphor: mobilizing tensions, diversity of femininity and masculinity
    • Epistemology: pragmatical knowledge, socially constructed, produced together
    • Government's reaction: mainstreaming policies, resolving or disbanding the uniform Welfare State; changes in work place cultures, economic foundation for equal opportunities
    • Gender contract: under negotiations... These three perspectives form a model by which the evaluation of the mainstreaming projects of the Ministries is done, for example, "gender perspective" was used in the Plan of Action for the Promotion of Gender Equality of the Government of Finland as well as in SUVA (gender impact assessment) while both "women's perspective" and "equal treatment perspective" were used while increasing resources for women or gender equality work.
      www.eurofem.net

      BUDGET of the project 7 - Developing methods for the implementation of gender mainstreaming - financed by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Heath*:

      1998: 370 000 mk
      1999: 212 000 mk
      2000: 328 000 mk*

      Total: 910 000 mk

      · From this sum 100 000 mk was reserved for another mainstreaming project, called SUVA (sukupuolivaikutusten arviointiprojekti) - gender impact assessment (MORE DETAILS about SUVA which was implemented for the first time in connection with the reform of Contracts of Employment Act, in Section III of this report for FCZB.

      * Unfortunately budgets of the other mainstreaming projects were not available because mainstreaming projects of the Ministries were usually parts of some other, larger, projects, but in some reports of the Ministries it was stated that one obstacle for mainstreaming is insufficient resources.

      8) Evaluation of the Effects of the Equality Act

      Plan (1997):
      Plans have been made to conduct a study on the practical effects of the Equality Act, especially application practices. In this connection an evaluation will be made of the social impact of the Act, especially in working life and social decision-making. (Ministry in charge: the Minisry of Social Affairs and Health) (Project/ the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health: Evaluation of the Effects of the Equality Act)

      Report: no report available, obviously this has not been carried yet, J.K.

      9) The Association of Finnish Local Authorities will launch a study on the implementation of the equality principle (Kuntaliitto).


      The aim is to chart the situation in municipalities before and after the reformed Equality Act entered into force on 1 March 1995 (including gender quotas also in non-elected municipal bodies) (Action Plan, p. 5.)

      Report: no report

      OTHER PROJECTS OF GENDER MAINSTREAMING included in Cabinet's Gender Equality Plan - training at the highest level, developing statistics and promoting research - will be briefly introduced in the following:

      10) Training at the highest level

      Equality cannot be promoted without the commitment of political decision-makers and authorities. Their interest in and knowledge of the issue can be increased by providing information and training and by acquainting them with the situation.
      The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is presently (1997) co-ordinating a project under which the highest-ranking officials are acquainted with equality issues. The first stage of will involve a meeting in January 1997 for the training and information officers of Ministries. This will be followed by training events for secretary-generals, office heads and heads of provinces. The training provided in this context will be relatively restricted, its purpose being to complement the other events arranged for top-level authorities. Training will be continued on the basis of experience gained and extended in 1998 to other decision-makers in society, for example, university rectors (Ministry in charge: Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, all ministries) (Project/ Ministry of Social Affairs and Health: Training Users of Statistics and Research) (Action Plan, p. 5.)

      Report: NO REPORT

      11) Developing statistics

      Plan (1997):
      The Beijing Platform for Action accentuates the need for developing national, regional and international statistics services that would produce gender specific information for the purpose of planning and evaluation. For example, the statistics on education and training, population factors, labour force, salaries and income compiled by Statistics of Finland provide elements necessary for building a picture of women's and men's position in society. Other information essential in assessment of gender balance can be obtained from ministries and national boards. However, existing information of these sources is not yet sufficient to fulfil the requirements set out in the Platform. There is a special need for more detailed statistics on women in social decision-making and power wielding and on women's economic activities, in particular unremunerated work. The development if statistics is necessary when integrating a gender perspective into state administration. Gender impact analyses set new requirement on statistical data and their processing. The various authorities and Statistic Finland will evaluate the existing statistics as part of the mainstreaming project undertaken at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. (Ministry in charge: Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, all ministries and Statistics of Finland) (Project/the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health: Compiling Statistics in View of Gender Equality) (Action Plan, p. 5-6.)

      The Finnish Government wishes to monitor citizen's impressions about gender equality and changes in the situation. Therefore a new instrument, equality barometer will be developed and produced at least every other year to provide information on the experiences of women and men regarding gender equality in personal relationships, family life, organisations, working life and society. The first barometer will be compiled in 1997 (published in 1998, J.K.). In support of this, Statistics Finland will design, in co-operation with users, equality indicators to gauge gender bias in education and work, earned income, the distribution and availability of services, participation in society, decision-making (published in 2000, J.K.), health and crime. (Ministry in charge: (Ministry in charge: Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and Statistics Finland) (Project/the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health: The Equality Barometer and Equality Indicators) In addition, the Association of Finnish Local Authorities will be responsible for compiling statistics on the implementation of equality in the municipal sector. (Action Plan, p. 6.)

      Report (2001):
      no report, but The first Finnish Equal Opportunity Barometer was published by the Statistics Finland 1998 and the second one will be published in this year (2001). The first report of the Gender Equality Indicators in Decision-Making was published in 2000 by the Statistics Finland.
      Page 9 in: www.tasa-arvo.fi/www-eng/publications/index.html

      Equal Opportunity Barometer gauges the reality of everyday life

      1998 saw the completion of an Equal Opportunity Barometer Study carried out among 15 to 74-year-old Finns as a joint endeavour by the Council for Equality and the Statistics Finland. It examines with the aid of the assessments, attitudes and personal experiences of women and men, inter alia, the division of labour, relative positions of authority and the acceptability of exerting power in different situations by employees of different sexes.
      According to the equality barometer, the clear majority of both men and women feel that the social position of women is inferior to that of men. However, one out of two men and women believed that equality will increase over the next ten years.
      Finns appeared virtually unanimous in stating that women are entitled to work irrespective of their family circumstances and that men ought to participate more in child care and rearing. 57 per cent of women wage-earners and 43 per cent of women entrepreneurs regarded their own sex at least to some extent as a disadvantage in the workplace. On the other hand, schoolchildren and students provided a distinctly more positive picture of equality attained.

      NOTE also that the mainstreaming report www.eurofem.net emphasises the importance of gender statistics in mainstreaming.

      12) Promoting research

      The vast knowledge produced by women's studies is called for when implementing the mainstreaming principle according to the Plan of Action of the Finnish Government and evaluating the impact of decisions on gender equality. In order for research results to be useful for equality work, it is necessary to improve the national information and documentation services related to women's studies, which up to now have received only modest resources. Today women's studies are taught at nearly all of Finland's universities. In the future experts will need to master not only their own branch of study but should also be aware of they key issues related to gender equality in their field, and this is an important argument in favour of including women's studies in the curricula of all universities. It is also a big step on the path to integrating gender perspective in society as a whole. Women researchers should be encouraged in their careers. A working party set up by the Academy of Finland is presently examining ways of removing obstacles to the advancement of women researchers and improving their status. A part of a five-year project, Ministry of Education is providing funds for seven professorships for Women's Studies in 1995-1997. The different administrative branches base their decision on studies and investigations. In line with the mainstreaming principle the focus should be on women's and men's living condition and interests whenever this is relevant. Under investigation at present are the attitudes towards equality and women's issues in rapidly growing research on different sectors. (Ministries in charge: the Ministry of and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health) (Action Plan, p. 7.)

      Report: no report

      NOTE, however, that the mainstreaming report www.eurofem.net emphasises the importance of women's studies in mainstreaming.

      Will be done by telefax. In addition, note the following links:

      LINKS:

      Mainstreaming project:
      www.tasa-arvo.fi/www-eng/publications/index.html

      Mainstreaming project (methods and instruments of mainstreaming) by Liisa Horelli and Milja Saari: www.eurofem.net

      Equal Opportunity Programme of the National Government (Suomen hallituksen tasa-arvo-ohjelma) is in the net (only in Finnish and Swedish): www.vn.fi/stm/suomi/julkaisu/julk01fr.html

      Mainstreaming is mentioned also in the programme of the present Government (Prime minister: Paavo Lipponen 1999-): www.vn.fi/vn/english/index.html

      SECTION II: GETTING READY FOR GENDER MAINSTREAMING

      Are national, regional and local governments or other key-players currently preparing the ground for implementing mainstreaming?
      YES, at national level - the Finnish government - see above, the reports of the six Ministries - and at local level, see project 9: The Association of Finnish Local Authorities will launch a study on the implementation of the equality principle (Kuntaliitto). The aim is to chart the situation in municipalities before and after the reformed Equality Act entered into force on 1 March 1995 (including gender quotas also in non-elected municipal bodies) (Action Plan, p. 5.)


      If you see indications in your country, please, elaborate:
      See above.

      Examples: Awareness raising events and publications by governments, equality infrastructures, women's NGOs, trade unions etc.

      Publications concerning mainstreaming were published as a result of the mainstreaming projects of the Ministry of Environment (see above) and of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, for example (see above) and link: www.eurofem.net

      There are no special mainstreaming projects for women's NGOs financed by the Government in Finland and no special mainstreaming projects carried out by women's associations themselves either, see however the report of Ministry of Education (mainstreaming of the work of youth organisations).

      A really useful report of the methods developed for gender mainstreaming in public administration can also be used by other actors, such as women's NGOs, unfortunately only in Finnish: www.eurofem.net
      In this report the authors have also evaluated the work and activities of women's NGO's. The authors think that these organisations have done mainstreaming from the very start and all the time, for example, by empowering women as well as by demanding positive actions.

      Training targeting at various actors organised by governments, equality infrastructures etc.

      See above: the reports of the ministries and the Plan of Action for the Promotion of Gender Equality of the Government of Finland (p. 5): "Training at the highest level". Training was an important part of the mainstreaming projects of the Ministries, especially those of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and Ministry of Labour. A guide of methods for training gender mainstreaming was created in one of the mainstreaming projects (carried out by Ms. Horelli), the report of this is available only in Finnish: www.eurofem.net

      Research and study:
      See above: "Developing statistics" (11) and "Promoting research" (12)

      Information and funding of women's NGOs in a perspective of making them key-actors in the process of gender mainstreaming:
      NO

      There are no special mainstreaming projects for women's NGOs financed by the Government in Finland and no special mainstreaming projects carried out by women's associations themselves either, see however the report of Ministry of Education (mainstreaming of the work of youth organisations).

      A really useful report of the methods developed for mainstreaming in administration but which can also be used by other actors, such as women's NGOs is available, unfortunately only in Finnish: www.eurofem.net
      In this report the authors have also evaluated the work and activities of women's NGO's. The authors think that these organisations have done mainstreaming from the very start and all the time, for example, by empowering women and by demanding positive actions.

      Others by the Finnish Gender Equality Council (official name: Council for Equality between Women and Men in Finland)

      Closed and future projects concerning mainstreaming carried out by the Gender Equality Council within the Ministry of the Social Affairs and Health are:

      1) Project "Developing methods for the implementation of gender mainstreaming" with its internet report including a kind of general "mainstreaming kit" or a guide for mainstreaming, described above (1998-2000)
      2) A project of planning a database and gender equality indicators to describe gender equality situation in the Finnish municipalities (at local and regional level) including also women's representation in decision-making (starting in 2001)
      3) Project for the documentation of women's studies (with University of Åbo Akademi) starting 2001.

      SECTION III: Gender mainstreaming targeted explicitly at women in decision-making

      The only Ministries, which paid attention to women's representation in decision-making, were the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in its plan*, not in its report) and the Ministry of Labour in its report and Ministry of Environment (see above, projects of the Ministries). According to the report of the Ministry of Labour "in connection with the organisational reform of the Ministry, the objective was to increase the proportion of women among the leadership of the Ministry. Other methods included diversifying the tasks of the clerical employees, increasing the resources for gender equality work, evaluation of the gender balance of the personnel before and after the organisational reform of the Ministry."

      NOTE ALSO:
      *Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Plan (1997):
      As laid down in the Equality Plan of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry will consider the equality principle when preparing matters and following and participating in international debates on the issue. The gender perspective is realised in having women participate equally with men in planning and decision-making. The Ministry strives to promote gender equality in budgeting as well as in operating and economic plans. The long-term objective of the Ministry is to abandon special equality plans and instead to use the general operating and economic plans of the Ministry as the framework of equality projects. (Ministry in charge: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) (Action Plan, p. 3.)

      NOTE ALSO:
      Ministry of Environment; Plan (1997):
      The Ministry of Environment develops environmental and community policy according to the objective of gender equality. To this end, practices are laid down that improve the opportunities of both women and men to participate in environmental and community policies. (Ministry in charge: Ministry of Environment)

      *


      The Plan of Action for the Promotion of Gender Equality of the Government of Finland (1997) did not have any plan for increasing women's representation in economic or political decision-making. The reform of Gender Equality Act 1995 with gender quotas in non-elected public bodies, compensates, at least partly, this lack of interest. See, however, the plans of mainstreaming (which have not been carried out yet) regarding the evaluation of impact of the reform of the Gender Equality Act 1995: Project by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health for the evaluation of the effects of the equality act (8); a plan launched by the Association of Finnish Local Authorities (Kuntaliitto) (9) which is also especially aimed at the evaluation of the impacts of the Gender Equality Act at the local level. "The aim is to chart the situation in municipalities before and after the reformed Equality Act entered into force on 1 March 1995" (Action Plan, p. 5).

      Other relevant projects are: Developing statistics (11), which includes the plans to develop gender specific statistics - barometers and indicators - also in the field of decision-making. The first Finnish Equal Opportunity Barometer was published by the Statistics Finland 1998 and the second one will be published in this year (2001). The first report of the Gender Equality Indicators in Decision-Making was published in 2000 by the Statistics Finland.
      Page 9 in: www.tasa-arvo.fi/www-eng/publications/index.html

      NOTE: also a future project of planning a database and gender equality indicatorsto describe gender equality situation in the Finnish municipalities (at local and regional level) includes also women's representation in decision-making (starting in 2001) by the Council for Equality between Women and Men in Finland.
      This is a project of planning a database and gender equality indicators to describe gender equality situation in the Finnish municipalities (at local and regional level) including also women's representation in decision-making (starting in 2001).

      FCZB-questions concerning gender mainstreaming targeted especially at women in decision-making:

      Are the relevant strategies (concerning women in decision-making) including timetables and quantitative goals?
      They do not - in a strict sense.

      What are the concrete measures to reach them?
      Developing statistics, promoting research and methods of evaluation, i.e. to have more and, what is more important, more accurate and frequently produced (updated) information (statistics etc.) about women in decision-making for the evaluation of gender balance in decision-making.

      Who are the major players to take action?
      Gender Equality Council (Council for Equality Between Women and Men within the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health) and Statistics Finland (department of Gender Statistics).

      What are the relevant monitoring and evaluating mechanisms to be applied?
      Statistics, indicators, databases etc., see above.

      Tackling gender gaps in decision-making - in both the political arena and in economic and cultural life - as priority in the national action plan for gender mainstreaming?
      No, it isn't.

      Vertical desegregation of the labour market (i.e. enhancing women's access to senior management and decision-making levels) as a priority among measures described under pillar 4 of your country's National Action Plan for Employment (NAP)?
      www.mol.fi/english/reports/nap-eng20001.html

      STRENGTHENING EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES POLICIES FOR MEN AND WOMEN (PILLAR IV)

      2.7 Gender division of the labour market (Council recommendation, Guidelines 18-21)
      The Finnish labour market is clearly divided into men's and women's occupations. Only about 16% of the workforce is employed in equal occupations where the gender distribution is within 40-60%. This is partly due to the fact the employment rate for women in Finland is among the highest in Europe, and that women earn wages doing the kind of nursing and care work which may elsewhere be done at home. The gender division of occupations is not only a problem of equality; it also prevents the smooth functioning of the labour market. The aim of the Government is to influence the mechanisms behind people's choices of occupation to encourage men and women towards a more equal distribution in various occupations. An extensive strategic project ´equal labour market´ will be launched in this area (2000-2003). During 2000, the project will work with research findings and good practices to discover the key factors for eliminating this clear gender division in certain occupations. After this, the project will define the measures needed, their extent and the bodies responsible for implementation, and then monitor implementation. The project will last for four years (2000-2003). The labour market organizations will launch a three-year co-operation programme with schools and companies. This will study ways of encouraging boys and girls at various stages of their education into choosing occupations which are not typical of their gender. An information campaign aimed at schools and other educational work will be implemented as part of the programme. The programme will be funded with ESF funding, among other sources. It will last for three years (2000-2002). A study on the statistics and monitoring of gender-based pay differentials which starts in 2000 will serve as the basis for constructing a systematic monitoring framework for monitoring gender pay differentials in the labour market. The aim is to facilitate analysis of the factors which influence these pay differentials and to apply statistical methods to monitoring changes in the differentials at regular intervals.
      The Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and Statistics Finland will be in charge of implementing the measures in co-operation with the labour market organizations.
      · The Plan of Action for the Promotion of Gender Equality of the Government of Finland
      (1997) includes a chapter (5.8.) Suppressing occupational segregation (Action Plan, p. 28-29.)

      The measures taken by the Ministry of Labour to reduce gender segregation include vocational counselling and adult education provided as part of employment policies. Projects aiming at developing working life should be directed in the same proportion to female- and male-dominated fields. The Ministry of Labour grants aid to development project according to their impact on gender equality (Ministry in charge: Ministry of Labour). Certain measures of the Ministry of Education, such as its work in favour of the Information Society, likewise target the gender boundaries in working life. (Ministry in charge: Ministry of Education). The Ministry of Defence launched in 1997 a project that opened pilot training and the post of Air Force pilot also to women (the first Finnish woman Air Force pilot, was graduated after fighter pilot training a couple of days ago, March 2001. J.K.).

      · Divide on the labour market, see pages 7 and 8 of 19 in: www.tasa-arvo.fi/www-eng/publications/index.html

      WORK GIVES WOMEN FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE

      Almost half of the Finnish workforce and employees are women. Both women and men are engaged in full-time work. The mothers of small children also work outside the home.
      Finnish women are among the most active on the job market in the European Union. Public services support women who want to go out to work. Women's work also contributes to financing the welfare state.
      Gainful employment and individual social security reinforce a woman's financial independence. Among couples of working age, in approx. a quarter of the families the spouses' personal net income was roughly the same in 1996. In just under sixty per cent of the couples the man had a greater income.

      A typical employment a typically female problem

      As workplaces are divided to a considerable extent according to gender, unemployment has also affected women and men at different times and in different ways.
      The recession initially hit male-dominated sectors, e.g., industry and construction. Later on, unemployment also rose in typical women's professions, such as health care, social, administrative and clerical work as well as commercial and service professions. The bankruptcies and mergers in the banking and finance sectors have increased and are still increasing unemployment among women in particular.
      As a consequence of the recession, the employment level among women fell between 1990 and 1998 from 72 to 62 per cent and among men from 77 to 67 per cent. However, the recession did not manage to push women away from the labour market. Employment among men has been improving since 1995 but among women only since 1996.
      The number of fixed-term jobs has been increasing in the 1990s. In 1998, 21 per cent of women's jobs were on a fixed-term basis contrasted with men's fifteen per cent. On the other hand, 64 per cent of new women's and 49 per cent of new men's jobs were of a definite duration.
      The share of part-time work has also increased. In 1998, sixteen per cent of women were working part-time.
      Although economic development in Finland since the recession has been brisk and the employment level has risen, women's unemployment rate continues to top that of men's.

      How are salary differences faring?

      The pay differentials between women and men have narrowed by a few percentage points compared to the 1980s. The difference between the monthly salaries of full-time wage-earners in the 1990s averaged 18-19 per cent, and that between annual income 21-25 per cent. The salary gap between women and men with the same educational background working within the same sector in the mid-1990s was approx. fifteen per cent. The differences in women's and men's pay in the private sector outsized those prevailing in the public sector.
      One distinctive feature of Finnish labour market policy worth mentioning is incomes policy agreement bargaining. Since 1989, the labour market partners have agreed on what are known as women's and low-paid workers' equalisation transfers. In the 1990s, there have been four agreements on equalisation transfers, most recently for 1997. The equalisation transfers are calculated as a specific percentage of the aggregate salaries of the sector, and the aim is to allocate that percentage to sectors in which women predominate and where wages are the lowest. Because of the modest pay rises during the recession, the equalisation transfers have certainly been of significance to women's and men's salaries. On the other hand, the structure of the labour market has altered at the same time and the number of full-time wage-earners has declined. There have also been changes that have augmented salary differences.
      The EU's 1999 employment guidelines incorporate the principle of mainstreaming issues concerned with equality between the sexes. The Equal Opportunity Pillar addresses the question of levelling out gaps between women's and men's salaries and of alleviating sex discrimination.

      Developing criteria for an equal work community

      Pay and other conditions of employment are mainly determined in agreements reached between labour market organisations. The majority of Finns, women included, are members of a trade union.
      At the beginning of the 1990s, job ranking (grading) became a key solution model, also designed to take account of factors relating to demands typically encountered in female- dominated jobs. Up until now, such factors - including interpersonal and interactive skills, responsibility for people or mental stress - have not been employed as criteria for determining remuneration.
      At the end of 1997, an incomes policy settlement incorporating positive steps towards increased equality was concluded. The labour market partners decided to initiate a number of development projects to give a boost to equal opportunity work communities. A group engaged in assessing how demanding different job categories are was also made permanent and its duties further specified, a move that is extraordinary in European terms as regards revamping the remuneration system. Also of significance has been the effective co-operation between employees, employers and the government.
      The representatives of the labour market organisations, the Ombudsman for Equality and the general-secretary of the Council for Equality meet regularly at round-table talks to discuss equality problems relating to the workplace and to look for solutions to them.

      Divide on the labour market

      The labour market - work tasks, professions, vocational and educational sectors - are sharply divided in Finland according to gender. The same phenomenon can also be observed in other Nordic countries. This is largely due to the fact that the big public sector offers a large number of tasks which women in other European countries manage at home. Many sectors in the Nordic countries that have been taken over by women are male-dominated in most other European countries, because women's labour participation rate there is considerably lower.
      Nevertheless, the gender-linked practices in the working world place women and men in unequal positions. In the 1990s, the recession only strengthened this division. The bifurcation of the labour market is also problematical because the level of pay and job status have also become segregated.
      Over the long term, it would appear that the percentage of women is on the increase and that of men on the decline in professions totally gender-bound - i.e., professions where the percentage of one sex exceeds ninety per cent. Between 1970 and 1990, the percentage of women increased in these professions by approximately eight per cent. In 1990, almost half of all women were employed in typically female professions. On the other hand, the percentage of women active in entirely male-dominated professions had fallen to forty per cent in 1990 from sixty per cent in 1970.
      The split is also evident in career advancement. Men climb the ladder faster and rise higher than do women. The differences become apparent in academic professions in particular right after the first years of employment.

      Recruit more women for technical fields

      Industry has a need for the skilled and educated Finnish woman. Industry is concerned that women are not signing up for technological studies or seeking employment in technology industries. From 1996 to 1998, the industry in fact implemented a two-year Women and Industrial Professions project in collaboration with the employees' organisations and authorities and financially backed by the EU Social Fund. This project aimed to stimulate girls' interest in technical professions, to develop the vocational school from the standpoint of women and to support women's placement in industrial professions. The Office of the Ombudsman for Equality was involved in the project management group. Industrial jobs and technical professions continue to be regarded as men's jobs; the dismantling of gender-based specialisation calls for a new way of thinking about typically women's and men's jobs both in the working world and schools.
      A number of Girls and Technology projects have been carried out at comprehensive schools and senior high schools in recent years. These have sought to familiarise girls with traditional boys' subjects, such as mathematics and natural sciences. The projects are designed to encourage girls to take an interest in a career in male professions.
      The Cabinet's Equal Opportunity Programme for 1997-1999 also seeks to diminish the gender-based division of education. The LUMA Project which forms part of the Equal Opportunity Programme aims to promote the development of mathematical and natural science skills and to increase the number of women students in both senior high schools and on technology courses. The project will also examine how the measures carried out during the project serve the attainment of equality between the sexes.

      Women on their way to the top

      About one third of Finnish entrepreneurs are women. Their companies usually have five employees or less. Women earn approx. 25 per cent of aggregate business income. Companies owned by women constitute an essential part of Finnish economic life.
      There are already a fair number of women, 25-35 per cent, among middle managers and experts employed by various organisations - e.g., working as personnel, environmental, marketing and finance managers. On the other hand, there are hardly any women among directors-general or managing directors or in the top echelon of the largest companies. Women directors earn on average 35 per cent less than their male counterparts.
      There are already women serving as chairmen of trade unions and as managers in central organisations.

      Brisk demand for women entrepreneurs' loans

      In line with the Cabinet's Equal Opportunity Programme, new women entrepreneurs or those who are upgrading their operations can be granted state support in the form of women entrepreneurs' loans. This is a five-year trial scheme. The demand for these loans has been quite heavy right from the start.
      Worth noting is the fact that new women entrepreneurs are highly educated. More than forty per cent of aspiring female entrepreneurs have university-level and forty per cent polytechnic- or institute-level qualifications. They also have substantial practical experience to their merit. The percentage of women entrepreneurs has increased in the care sector and in expert positions in various business-to-business fields.

      New tool: the equality plan

      The amended Equality Act obligates authorities and employers to promote equality purposefully and systematically. The employer should also promote opportunities for women and men to reconcile work and family life and ensure that employees are not subjected to sexual harassment or abuse.
      An employer with a payroll of thirty employees or more should incorporate measures for promoting equality in the annual personnel and training plan or labour protection action plan. The status of women can be examined by means of attitude training, instruction and labour protection, and the advancement of the minority sex can be promoted in different professional categories.
      The work community can also draw up a separate equality plan indicating practical measures for promoting equality between the sexes. It is designed to dismantle gender-based specialisation in the business world, to promote the vocational development and equal career advancement of individuals, to develop good co-operation and workplace morale and fair remuneration.
      An equality plan should be produced for a municipality, government agency, organisation, educational establishment and other public entities. It is usually compiled jointly by the employer and employees. The public sector and a number of large companies have been pioneers in advancing equal opportunities. The Office of the Ombudsman for Equality monitors closely the equality plans of both private and public Finnish work communities. The Ombudsman for Equality promotes equality planning by means of on-site and company visits, which are designed to increase employers' awareness of equal rights promotion and to gather information on the equal opportunity problems in the workplace. The majority of the visits are made to private companies, and are conducted all over Finland.
      For the first time, in 1998, six work communities were granted diplomas for the meritorious promotion of workplace equality through equal opportunity planning. Such diplomas were also given out in 1999.

      *The Finnish action plan for gender mainstreaming (19907-2000) also included a project: Reforming Labour Legislation according to the Mainstreaming Principle (Ministry in Charge: the Ministry of Labour)

      This project was successfully carried on in a case of the reform of the Employment Contracts Act and so called SUVA (sukupuolivaikutusten arviointi) - gender impact assessment of legislative proposals - was exercised for the first time in Finland. The report of this evaluation has been published in Finnish (Vaikuttaako sukupuoli? Työsopimuslakiesityksen arviointia tasa-arvonäkökulmasta. Tasa-arvovaltuutetun toimisto. Sosiaali- ja terveysministeriö. Tasa-arvojulkaisuja 2000:8). In this report many parts of the legislative proposal are criticised from the gender perspective, most importantly, those parts concerning parental leave which according to the report should be individual right so that also fathers have a kind of "quota" (a certain period of time when he is allowed to stay at home with a child). In the legislative proposal sharing of parental leave was left up to the families to decide. It is obvious also in Finland that if mothers are the ones, which take the leave because of small or sick children instead of a father - this puts men in a better position in the labour markets (and has an impact on the vertical segregation). Instead the proposals that there should be certain minimum conditions for employment contracts and that collective agreements are generally binding, are positive also from women's points view and not least because more women than men are in atypical jobs. All in all SUVA revealed weaknesses in the legislative proposal for a reform of the Employment Contracts Act including that proposal does not improve women's opportunities to combine work and family or the position of pregnant employees. Neither does it clearly improve the position of (mostly female) employees in part-time work or in fixed-term or temporary employment relationships. In 1998, 21% of women's jobs were on a fixed-term basis contrasted with men's 15%.

      The plan of the mainstreaming project of the Ministry of Labour included solving the problem of segregation, too:
      Name of the mainstreaming project:
      The project for developing methods for gender mainstreaming in the Ministry of Labour
      Original name in Finnish: Tasa-arvon valtavirtaistamismenetelmien kehittämishanke työministeriössä
      Date: starting from 1997 and continued in many forms during the years 1997-2000.
      Objectives: to integrate gender mainstreaming to all routine work of the organisational reform of the Ministry as well as of some fields of labour policy (Action Plans of Employment Policy of Finland, NAPS, suppressing gender segregation in the labour markets, national training programme, gender accounting etc.)

      Strategies and measures targeted at vertical desegregation in the Community Support Frameworks and Operational Programmes for the New Funding Period (2000-2006) of the European Structural Funds

      Gender balance in the Monitoring Committees of the Structural Funds
      Finland implements EU's Equal Opportunity Programme
      , see pages 18 and 19 of 19 in: www.tasa-arvo.fi/www-eng/publications/index.html

      Finland implements EU's Equal Opportunity Programme

      Finland was accepted as a member of the European Union (EU) on 1st January 1995. The EU endeavours to promote equality by means of both legislation and Equal Opportunity Programmes, which have been drawn up since 1982.
      In 1993, the European Union added to the main principles of its structural policy a target of promoting equality, which is to be implemented on the mainstreaming principle throughout the structural policy. Only ten per cent of the top posts in the European Commission, which draws up the main principles of structural policy, are held by women.
      In Finland's national structural policy organs, women account for 25-50 per cent of the members depending on the committee. On the boards and councils of the provincial federations and in the provincial co-operation groups, the percentage of women has risen since the entry into force of gender quotas. None of the directors of the Ministry of Trade and Industry's business services which handle business subsidy at area level are women. It is only in the labour districts subordinate to the Ministry of Labour that half of the ESR co-ordinators are women. The objectives of the fourth Equal Opportunity Programme for 1996-2000 include establishing co-operation between different actors, facilitating the reconciliation of women's and men's work and family life and improving women's opportunities for exercising their rights. The programme also draws attention to the inequality and pay differences still prevailing in the working world. There is a desire to improve the status of female-dominated jobs, and women are being encouraged to engage in entrepreneurship.
      The programme is being implemented by means, inter alia, of an exchange of information between various bodies and member states, by developing and disseminating new procedures and by holding seminars, conferences and publicity campaigns.

      Finland scrambles to be an equal opportunity trailblazer

      Finland is keen to be an international pioneer in equality issues.
      The Office of the Ombudsman for Equality takes part in the drafting of Community legislation in the Council of the EU together with other member countries, and also in legal proceedings on equality issues pending before the Court of the European Communities. It also promotes the European Union's Equal Opportunity policy.
      The Ombudsman for Equality acts as the representative of the Finnish government in the Commission's advisory committee on equality matters. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is responsible for publicising and co-ordinating nationally the EU's fourth Equal Opportunity action programme. The sustaining principle of the programme is mainstreaming. The Finnish government is represented in the administrative committee monitoring the implementation of the programme by the general-secretary of the Council for Equality.


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