Helsinki is one of the most equal capitals in the world

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Plenty of work is done in Helsinki to advance equal opportunities for different genders in society. There is also an active effort to prevent different kinds of discrimination.

Finland is one of the most equal nations in the world. Income differences are narrower than the European Union average, and the risks of poverty and marginalisation are lower than in Europe in general. Finland is one of the leading nations in terms of gender equality in the world.

Everyone citizen of 18 years of age or older has a voting right that can only be revoked if the individual gives up their Finnish citizenship. Women received the right to vote and stand for election in 1906. Finland was the first country in Europe to give women the right to vote. 

Combining a career and family life is easy in Finland. When a child is born, the parents have a right to stay at home to take care of them. Kela, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland, pays family benefits during the course of parental leave, meaning parenthood allowance and childcare allowance. Fathers are also encouraged to stay home with children. Fathers receive 54 weekdays of fatherhood leave that cannot be transferred to the mother. 

Most women work in Finland, even if they have small children. The public daycare system in Finland is of high quality, and every child has the right to access it. 91 percent of Helsinki’s three to six-year-olds take part in early childhood education. If a child under ten falls ill, either one of the parents can stay home to take care of them. 

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Competence knows no gender 

Advancing one’s career in Finland is not dependent on gender or age. The nation’s first female president Tarja Halonen was exceptionally popular among the public during her time in office. She is known as a defender of human rights, equality and the welfare society. When Sanna Marin was elected as Finland’s Prime Minister in December 2019, she was the youngest head of state for her first month. More than half of the members of Marin’s cabinet are women. 

The City of Helsinki is led by the mayor and four deputy mayors. All deputy mayors are currently women. 

The proportion of women on the boards of publicly listed companies in Finland is 29 percent. The ratio is highest in major listed companies (33 percent) and lowest in minor listed companies (25 percent). The number of women on the boards of listed companies has been on a constant rise through the 2000s. Last year, 98 percent of all listed companies had both women and men on their boards. 

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The work towards equality continue 

The curriculum for early childhood education and care and the national core curriculum for basic education actively dismantle gender stereotypes and support gender diversity for instance by questioning gendered structures in society. 

Gender-sensitive education means that children are not put into groups according to a singular gender in school or in early childhood education. There is instead an agreement to support the individual, personal characteristics of every child.           

The law serves to advance equality 

Finland has implemented an Equality Act and a Non-discrimination Act. These forbid discrimination based on, for example gender, age, nationality, religion, opinion or sexual orientation. The legal framework also obligates employers, authorities and organisers of educational activities to actively advance equality and non-discrimination. 

Finland’s government aims to improve equality in all sectors of society, and to elevate Finland as a leading nation of equality. In addition to gender, the fulfilment of equality is also monitored regarding, for instance socioeconomic status, sexuality, age and ethnic background. 

Finland’s current government programme includes a record number of measures to advance gender equality. One of the aims of the government programme is to divide parental leave equally between parents, to advance non-discrimination in workplaces, to bridge the income gap between genders, to improve the position of people belonging to sexual minorities, and to decrease violence towards women within relationships.

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Helsinki has managed to prevent inequality 

Helsinki is a liberal and multicultural capital city. Helsinki has around 650,000 inhabitants, 62,000 of whom are nationals of other countries. 

Helsinki has two official languages. 78 percent of Helsinkians speak Finnish as their mother tongue, and six percent Swedish. 16 percent of Helsinkians have another mother tongue. The most commonly spoken languages are Russian, Estonian, Somali, Arabic and English. 

The City of Helsinki strives to provide everyone the equal chance at a good life. On a global scale, one of the biggest challenges of cities is levels of inequality. According to international studies, Helsinki has managed to prevent inequality better than most cities in comparison. 

Helsinki’s aim continues to be an equal, non-discriminatory city that is enjoyable for all citizens. There is active work done to further non-discrimination and gender equality. 

In Helsinki special attention is given to combatting inequality among children and young people. Differences in health and wellbeing start to form already in childhood. The strategy of the City of Helsinki aims to decrease inequality by, for instance adding high quality teaching and early childhood education. There is a special focus on recognising and preventing poverty among families with children. Helsinki wants children and young people to feel confident in the future of the city and to have the ability to influence it. 

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Plenty of work is done in Helsinki to advance equal opportunities for different genders in society. There is also an active effort to prevent different kinds of discrimination.