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According to the Gender Equality Barometer mens status is still considered better than womens status

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
Publication date 25.11.2008 9.00
Press release -

Men’s status in society is today still considered better than that of women. The majority of Finns believe that a greater number of women in leading positions would benefit enterprises and the business. A greater number of men than before are of this opinion. The majority of men and women support a more equal sharing of the employer costs incurred through family leaves between female- and male-dominated branches. Among others these issues appear from the newly published Gender Equality Barometer. Tarja Nieminen, Senior Actuary of Statistics Finland, was responsible for preparing it.

The first Gender Equality Barometer was published ten years ago, and the present barometer is the fourth one. The Gender Equality Barometer reviews evaluations and attitudes related to gender equality, as well as experiences of how gender equality is realised in worklife and within the sphere of the family.

For educated women gender is a disadvantage in career advancement

The majority of women wage and salary earners and a clearmajority of men do not experience gender-related disadvantages at their present work. But a distinct change is observed in the experience of women with university level education. In 2001, 26 per cent of these women felt that their gender is a disadvantage as far as pay is concerned. In 2008 their percentage was as much as 39 per cent. Educated women also feel more often than other women that their gender hampers their career advancement.

Men are no more seen as the main family breadwinners

Less people are of the opinion that men have to bear the main responsibility for the income of the family. Men consider more often than women that men are responsible. At the level of attitudes the barometer tells that the model of ‘man as the breadwinner’ is breaking down. The number of people supporting it has clearly been reduced over the past ten years. The model is being replaced by the idea of men as equal parents. As much as 90 per cent of both women and men are of the opinion that men should take part in the care and upbringing of their children to a greater extent than they do at present.

More negative attitudes towards men’s than women’s family leaves at workplaces

The change of attitude in regard to caring for children is not reflected fully in practice. When asking about the attitudes of workplaces towards taking family leaves the respondents considered that it is more difficult for men than for women to take parental or care leave. The difference is more marked in the private sector, where more than 50 per cent of the employees considered that it is difficult for men to take a lengthy parental or care leave. On the other hand, men think that it is now easier than before for them to stay at home to care for a child aged under 10 years that has suddenly fallen ill.

For further information contact: TarjaNieminen, Senior Actuary, Statistics Finland, tel. (09) 1734 3561, or Jouni Varanka, Senior Officer, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. (09) 160 74459.

Tasa-arvobarometri 2008 (Gender Equality Barometer), Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and Statistics Finland; Publications of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 2008:24, ISBN 1236-2050. The publication includes an English summary.

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