Equality and non-discrimination at the Ministry of the Environment
According to section 6 of the Constitution of Finland (731/1999), everyone is equal before the law: no one shall, without an acceptable reason, be treated differently from other persons on the ground of sex, age, origin, language, religion, conviction, opinion, health, disability or other reason that concerns his or her person. Through their own actions the pubic powers must ensure and, on the other hand, must not prevent that equality and non-discrimination are attained in society as fully as possible.
According to section 4 of the Act on Equality between Women and Men (609/1986), the authorities must in all their activities promote equality between women and men purposefully and systematically, and must create and consolidate administrative and operating practices that ensure the advancement of equality between women and men in the preparatory work undertaken on different matters and in decision-making.
According to section 5 of the Non-discrimination Act (1325/2014), the authorities have the duty to promote equality in particular by evaluating the realisation of equality in their activities and to take necessary measures to promote the realisation of equality. These measures must be effective, expedient and proportionate, taking into account the authorities' operating environment, resources and other circumstances. The authorities must have a plan of the necessary measures for the promotion of equality.
The responsibility for promoting non-discrimination and gender equality rests with every authority and public official. The management of each organisation is responsible for changing their practices and structures in a way that the non-discrimination and equality perspectives are taken into account.
Working group of the Ministry of the Environment on operational equality and non-discrimination
The working group on operational equality and non-discrimination of the Ministry of the Environment plans and supports the mainstreaming of equality and non-discrimination in the work done at the ministry, including in law drafting, communications, operational and financial planning and international activities. The working group has a representative from each department and support function to make sure that expertise on the ministry’s key activities is covered as comprehensively as possible. The working group has a strong mandate for its work at the ministry.
- Appointment decision concerning the working group on operational equality and non-discrimination (pdf, in Finnish)
- Ministry of Social Affairs and Health: Gender mainstreaming
Operational equality and non-discrimination plan of the Ministry of the Environment
The law requires that the authorities adopt a systematic approach to promoting equality and non-discrimination. According to section 5 of the Non-discrimination Act, the authorities must have a plan of the necessary measures for the promotion of equality. At the Ministry of the Environment the equality and non-discrimination plans required by law have been combined into a single document for the years 2018–2023. The plan specifies the general objectives, measures and responsibilities through which the Ministry of the Environment promotes operational equality and non-discrimination when carrying out its duties as a public authority. The plan enables the ministry to systematically maintain administrative and operating practices to ensure that equality between women and men and non-discrimination will continue to be promoted in law and policy preparation and in decision-making. Taking gender equality and non-discrimination perspectives into account enhances the quality of the preparation work and decision-making and, at its best, contributes to more effective measures.
An assessment of the current situation was conducted to support the preparation of the plan. Work to promote equality and non-discrimination has been started and good progress is being made at the Ministry of the Environment, but a more in-depth approach will be needed. Based on the assessment, the challenges within the policy sector of the Ministry of the Environment are mainly related to non-discrimination in the broad sense rather than to issues directly concerned with gender equality. To address certain interfaces and challenges that have been identified, in future the focus should be on actions that contribute to the realisation of non-discrimination and equality in society. Due account for the gender perspective and non-discrimination must continue to be part of the regular work of public officials in law drafting and policy-making.