Last weekend, as the International Women’s day was approaching, my attention was caught by news about the World Bank’s report regarding equality in working life. Finland did not score full points due to legislation regarding family leaves – not considered equal enough.
But even flawless legislation does not guarantee that equality exists in practice states as Helsingin Sanomat article points out from the World Bank’s statement.
Even if there are laws and regulation and these are fine tuned, the responsibility to implement and make equality a reality ultimately lies on the employer and each and every one of us. The execution of this right requires more than just a belief that e.g. “we don’t discriminate, and we are absolutely equal, as all our employees are women”, heard in a company where the whole management consists of only men. No, in that case this most likely is not an equal workplace. Equality also has to do with other qualities than just gender, for example a person’s gender expression by behaviour or clothing.
In Finland it is required by law that employers actively promote equality. In workplaces employing at least 30 employees, it is required to draft an equality plan. The current situation must be reviewed and future measures need to be planned. Many might consider this as very bureaucratic. If the company sees corporate responsibility and complying with legislation as important (as many businesses do – take a quick look at your own business’s website if you don’t believe me), there is all the reason to act responsibly on this part too and turn mandatory means to your advantage. Nothing is preventing a workplace to draw up a plan, and hence an equal workplace systematically, already before the law requires it. It is often beneficial in many ways.
Unfortunately, neither in growing businesses nor smaller firms does good thoughts advance very much. Do you have equality and the related matters in order or at least on the drawing board? How about the practices?
Today on International Women’s Day we can celebrate the fact that we are a quite an equal country. But we have to remember every day that nothing changes or happens on its own. At work we are supposed to actually work. Also, for equality.
Happy International Women’s Day to all women, everyone who identifies themselves as women or expresses their gender and femininity and to those who know women and are born one way or another of a woman!
And no, equality doesn’t only regard equality between men and women, even men can be discriminated. And, we must ensure even diversity and non-discrimination based on other charasteristics. But let’s discuss that another time.
Ps. Our employment law team is arranging FondiaAcademy on the 8th of May. All our LDaaS customers and other interested are welcome join us to learn about the ways of ensuring corporate responsibility all the way in practice and also towards the company’s own personnel from a lawyer’s point of view and especially, how making this happen is profitable (event in Finnish).