Government has adopted a new Action Plan for Gender Equality
The Finnish Government promotes gender equality by means of a new Action Plan for Gender Equality. Every Government ministry has chosen at least one major project whose impact on the situation of women and men it is going to assess. ‘Gender glasses’ will be taken into use e.g. in the context of the National Forest Programme, amendment of the Act on Passenger Transport Services, and coach and instructor training of sports clubs. The gender perspective is also incorporated in the most important operations of the Government – from law drafting to drawing up the budget and planning of activities.
The priorities in the Government Action Plan for Gender Equality 2008–2011 are based on the most important gender equality policy objectives defined in the Government Programme. Priorities in the action plan are, among others, promotion of women’s careers, reducing the gender pay gap, increasing awareness of gender equality at schools, and measures to reduce gender segregation of the labour market. The action plan will also involve concrete measures to improve the reconciliation of work and family life and to reduce violence against women. The Government decided on the action plan on 17 July.
Gender pay gap will be reduced
The Government’s goal is to clearly reduce the differences in pay between men and women during its term of office. The Government will continue the tripartite Equal Pay Programme and support measures undertaken by the labour market organisations to advance gender equality and equal pay. The Government will assess reduction in the pay gap and decisions of the labour market organisations from the point of view of the Equal Pay Programme. The impact of the new pay systems of the state on women’s and men’s pay will be examined in order to be able to take into account gender equality when developing the pay system.
Schools’ role in disseminating gender equality information
Schools play a key role in strengthening children’s and young people’s awareness of gender equality. Gender-sensitive instruction also contributes to preventing segregation of the worklife. The Action Plan for Gender Equality requires measures in teacher education and development of textbooks from this perspective. Schools should convey an unbiased view of what is suitable and possible for women and men, and textbooks should not strengthen stereotyped gender roles through texts or pictures.
New means to prevent violence against women
A systematic approach is needed in the prevention of violence against women. Awareness of violence against women and its consequences has increased. Various measures have been undertaken – from legislation to changing attitudes campaigns. According to recent information, violence against women has not been reduced over the last ten years however. New approaches are therefore needed. The Government has decided to draw up a cooperation plan to reduce violence against women. It will be a cross-sectoral plan and NGOs will be consulted in preparing it.
The Government Action Plan for Gender Equality can be found in Finnish and Swedish on the website of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health www.stm.fi.
Further information: Tarja Heinilä-Hannikainen, Director, tel +358 9 160 74494, 050 537 8706 and Reetta Siukola, Project Coordinator (mainstreaming), tel. +358 9 160 74003, 050 545 0287