Quotas and the equality rule

One of the basic objectives of the Equality Act is to ensure that women and men can participate equally in societal planning and decision-making


The proportion of both women and men must be at least 40 per cent in planning and decision-making bodies of central and local government. The quota regulation applies to

  • e.g. government committees, advisory boards and working groups
  • municipal bodies and bodies established for the purpose of inter-municipal cooperation, excluding municipal councils, including wellbeing services counties. 

The equality rule

The equality rule is applied to

  • executive or administrative bodies of agencies and institutions if they exercise public authority
  • executive or administrative bodies of companies in which the Government or a municipality is the majority shareholder
  • bodies of indirect public administration, if they exercise public authority. Bodies who exercise public authority are e.g. pension institutions, chambers of commerce, private educational institutions and student unions.

The quota principle

The quota principle must be separately met by both the ordinary members and their deputies. The party proposing the members must propose one woman and one man for each position. 

The party preparing the institution of the body must ensure compliance with the quota principle. Once the candidates have been named, the party preparing the institution must strive to propose a composition that conforms to the quota principle.

Minimum gender representation can only be derogated from for special reasons. If the quota is not observed, the reason for this must be justified in the appointment decision. 

Promoting gender equality

The Equality Act obliges every employer and public bodies to promote gender equality in a purposeful and planned way.

In seeking to achieve balanced gender representation, the Ombudsman for Equality considers the minimum representation provided for in the Equality Act to be an appropriate goal for bodies for exerting influence in wellbeing services counties. When various parties are requested to name their candidates for bodies for exerting influence in wellbeing services counties, they should be reminded of the goal of balanced representation of women and men.