Application of the quota provision on the composition of the Council for Gender Equality’s municipal elections working group (TAS 118/2021; TAS 123/2021; TAS 159/2021)
The Ombudsman for Equality has been contacted and asked to investigate whether the composition of the municipal elections working group instituted by the Council for Gender Equality (Tane) is compliant with the provisions of the Equality Act. Tane’s municipal elections working group consists of ten members, who are all women.
Tane has submitted its observations in matter no. TAS/159/2021. According to the observations, the municipal elections working group instituted by Tane at its meeting of 1/2020 is an internal, preparatory working group. It does not make decisions. The group makes proposals to Tane, which makes all decisions.
The bodies, parties and umbrella organisations represented by Tane each had the opportunity to appoint one member to the municipal elections working group. The municipal elections working group is an internal, preparatory working group instituted by Tane itself. Tane, which has been instituted by the Government and whose composition follows the Equality Act’s quota provision, makes all decisions.
According to the quota provision laid down in the Act on Equality between Women and Men (Equality Act), the proportion of both women and men in government committees, advisory boards and other corresponding bodies must be at least 40 per cent, unless there are special reasons to the contrary.
The purpose of the quota provision is to safeguard the equal participation of women and men in social planning and decision-making. It is also intended to ensure the broadest possible base of expertise in government bodies.
The quota provision is not applied when a committee, advisory board, commission or other corresponding body appoints a sub-committee or, for example, working group consisting of its own members or outside experts. It is nevertheless important to strive for equal representation of women and men on working groups as well.
Tane is free to appoint internal sub-committees and to invite permanent outside experts to such sub-committees with the consent of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. Tane also institutes various working groups as required.
The Ombudsman for Equality found that the working group in question has been instituted internally by Tane, so it is not subject to the quota provision. There was no need for the Ombudsman for Equality to take measures in the matter.