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Statement regarding the preparation of the Government's Equality Policy Report (TAS 561/2021, issued on 20 January 2021)

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health sought the views of the Ombudsman for Equality and other actors on what issues should be taken into account in the preparation of the Equality Policy Report and what national targets should be set in the report. 

The report addresses the time between now and 2030. Respondents were asked to provide a maximum of five clear equality issues and a long-term equality policy goals. 

The Ombudsman for Equality noted that, unfortunately, the central equality issues of today's society do not seem to be disappearing, despite various measures having been taken. It is therefore important for the Ombudsman for Equality that these pressing equality issues are also emphasised in the new equality report. 

It is also important that the Gender Equality Report comprehensively takes into account gender diversity and the need for an intersectional assessment of gender equality issues. 

Both the equality issues raised by the Ombudsman for Equality in its statement and other equality issues have been discussed in more detail, for example, in a report submitted to Parliament by the Ombudsman for Equality (K22/2018 VP). The report also contains related recommendations.

The Ombudsman for Equality suggested that the Gender Equality Report address at least the following issues: 

  1. Division of care duties 
  2. Learning differences and segregation in education 
  3. The gender pay gap 
  4. Discrimination on the basis of pregnancy or parental leave 
  5. Sexual harassment and gender-based harassment 

As concrete and achievable long-term equality policy goals, the Ombudsman for Equality proposed the following:

  1. Closing the average pay gap between women and men by 2030.
  2. At least 20 % of employees working in so-called equality sectors (representation of at least 40 % women and men).
  3. Fathers using 30 % of family leave.
  4. A significant reduction in the incidence of pregnancy and family leave discrimination 
  5. A significant reduction in the incidence of sexual harassment

Respondents were also asked for suggestions on how legislation or individual redress should be developed to increase gender equality. The Ombudsman for Equality paid particular attention to the importance of gender impact assessment, the Ombudsman of Equality’s insufficient resources, the risk of high legal costs in providing legal protection for those discriminated against, and the need to develop collective redress. 

In addition, the Ombudsman for Equality cited ten examples of legislative reforms and other measures to increase gender equality.