Gender Equality in working life

Equality in working life must be promoted particularly in pay, working conditions, terms of employment, recruitment, career development, and reconciliation of work and family life. 

The Gender Equality Act obliges employers to promote gender equality in a systematic manner and to prevent discrimination based on gender, gender identity and gender expression.

Gender equality planning

All employers that regularly employ at least 30 people must draw up a gender equality plan. 

Under the Gender Equality Act, the plan must include:

  • an assessment of the gender equality situation in the workplace 
  • a pay survey, including details of the employment of women and men in different jobs and a survey concerning the classification of jobs, the pay for those jobs and the differences in pay by gender
  • concrete measures for promoting gender equality and achieving equality in pay
  • a review of how the measures included in the previous plan have been implemented and of the results achieved.

The gender equality plan and the pay survey must be drawn up at least every two years. However, if the plan is prepared every year, the pay survey can be conducted once every three years.  

Equal pay

Equal pay is a fundamental and human right. Under the Gender Equality Act, people performing the same work or work of equal value must receive the same pay, irrespective of gender. The work of equal value refers to jobs that are different but equally demanding.

Gender pay gaps can be reduced, for example, through statutory gender equality plans and pay surveys, contract and pay policies and the dismantling of gender segregation in working life.

Read more about equal pay, pay gaps and related projects:

Gender segregation in working life

The Finnish labour market is strongly segregated by gender. For example, 85 per cent of those working in the healthcare and social welfare sector are women and 91 per cent of those working in the construction sector are men (Statistics Finland). Only 10 per cent of wage and salary earners work in equal occupations. 

Occupational gender segregation also causes segregation regarding pay and working conditions. 

It is possible to dismantle gender segregation by, for example, through gender equality planning in early childhood education and care, educational institutions and workplaces; developing equal practices; eliminating sexual and gender-based harassment; dismantling stereotypical gender norms; and preventing all forms of gender-based discrimination. 

How to deal with cases of discrimination at work?

The Ombudsman for Equality supervises compliance with the Gender Equality Act and provides guidance and advice in situations where people suspect that they have been subject to discrimination in working life on the basis of gender, gender identity or gender expression.

Discrimination at work on other than gender-related grounds, such as age or origin, is prohibited under the Non-Discrimination Act. The occupational safety and health divisions and the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman are responsible for supervising discrimination on these grounds and providing advice to those who suspect discrimination. 

Further information

Milla Sandt, Senior Specialist 
Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Department for Work and Gender Equality / TTO, Gender Equality Unit / TASY Telephone:0295163124   Email Address: