Each year on 19 March, Finland celebrates Minna Canth Day and the Day of Equality in honour of the anniversary of the birth of Minna Canth, a vocal social opinion leader who shattered many glass ceilings in the late nineteenth century, as well as conducting a significant career as a writer and journalist. On this Day of Equality, Thomas Blomqvist, Minister for Nordic Cooperation and Equality reminds us of the importance of continuing to work actively for a more equal labour market.
“During this term, the government has completed an important family leave reform, which promotes a more equal division of parental leave between the genders. Responsibility for childcare should be more fairly divided; it should be completely natural for parents to share their parental leave equally and this should be our objective. It is important for everyone to contribute to this objective being met. Employers have a particular responsibility in this, but a shift in attitudes is needed throughout society. It must be equally possible for people of any gender to flexibly achieve a work-life balance,” Blomqvist states.
“The division of parental leave within the family is affected by many factors, but it is clear that social prejudices still play a huge role. To achieve higher equality and improve the status of women in the labour market, fathers must take a significantly greater proportion of parentally leave than they currently do.”
The family leave reform took effect in August 2022. It is expected to lead to parents sharing their leave more equally than before, as the portion allocated to fathers has increased.
“We must keep a close eye on the effects of the reform so that we can discern its true consequences and determine what further measures may be needed. I am convinced, however, that it is a step in the right direction in terms of achieving gender equality,” Blomqvist says.