Helsinki (02.09.2001 - Juhani Artto) The pay gap between men and women in Finland has persistently remained at an average of 25 to 30 per cent despite a huge number of studies, programmes, initiatives, seminars, task forces, negotiations and an ongoing struggle to reduce and abolish this differential.

How can this failure be explained?

Preliminary results of a new study, made by Dr Juhana Vartiainen, an economist from the Labour Institute for Economic Research, reveals that about half of the gap is due to gender discrimination. The remainder consists of differences in background between men and women in such aspects as education and work experience.

The study is based on large volume of statistical material collected by Statistics Finland. The comparison was made between men and women in full-time jobs.

The worst gender discrimination is in demanding salaried jobs. The gap is smaller in low-pay and the very highest paid occupations.

Dr Vartiainen emphasises that gender discrimination cannot be identified without a subtle and precise job classification effectively illustrating the level of job requirement in various occupations.

The study seeks not only to explain the reasons for the pay gap, but also to develop a method of monitoring the differential statistically.

Source: Pirjo Pajunen, "Puolet palkkaerosta selittyy syrjinnällä" [half of pay differential explained by discrimination], Palkkatyöläinen [the newspaper of the Confederation of Finish Trade Unions – SAK] edition 3-2001.

For further background see:

Summary of the SAK membership survey 2000

Ms Riitta Partinen, SAK Equal Opportunities Secretary: "We all benefit from the gender difference", an interview with Juhani Artto (Ms Partinen retired in April 2001)