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Finland: Gender hierarchies still widespread in the workplace

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Tue Mar 30 2010

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"Definitions of equality have not been considered very important to discuss at Finnish workplaces, but definitions have an impact in defining which problems are regarded specifically as equality problems. Open debate on equality and the aims of promoting equality really ought to be included as a goal of all efforts to promote equality - otherwise we run the risk of perpetuating the very structures we set out to demolish," says researcher Hanna Ylstalo.

Researcher Minna Leinonen says that recent studies have indicated that experiences related to gender and equality are linked with the positions that female and male respondents hold in the workplace hierarchy. In group discussions on the promotion of equality, men in management positions were least likely to bring up gender-related experiences, while such experiences were typically discussed by women employees.

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Ylstalo studies definitions of equality, while Leinonen studies links between gender and hierarchy in Finnish workplaces. Their research forms part of the Research Programme on Power and Society in Finland, funded by the Academy of Finland.

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