The Gendered Impacts of the Covid-19 Crisis in Finland and the Effectiveness of the Policy Responses: Findings of the Project "The Impact of the Covid-19 Crisis in Finland"
This paper assesses the gendered impacts of the Covid-19 crisis and the gender-sensitiveness of the government’s policy response in Finland. Despite long-standing gender equality problems that include a persistent gender pay gap, highly gender-segregated labour market, uneven distribution of care responsibilities and high levels of violence against women, Finland tends to do well in different gender equality indices. After a recent backlash, gender equality is high on the Finnish government’s agenda. Prime minister Sanna Marin’s government has been internationally renowned for its young female leadership, feminist policies as well as successful Covid-19 response.
The paper examines the gendered impacts of the crisis in relation to three dimensions: 1) employment 2) working conditions and reconciliation of paid work and family life and 3) the distributional impacts of the unemployment shock and the policy measures adopted to mitigate these impacts. For our analysis we use several data sources that comprise survey data on Finnish labour force and families and register data on social benefits. Moreover, we apply SISU microsimulation model to analyse the distributional impact of Covid-19 unemployment shock. We find that similarly to many other countries, in Finland the restrictive measures of the pandemic led to rapid decrease in employment particularly among female-dominated industries, such as services (e.g. restaurants, bars and shops) and tourism. A large proportion of employees in these industries work in low paid jobs and lack the economic security to help buffer against sudden shocks such as the Covid-19 crisis. However, unlike in many other countries, in Finland the programs and benefits introduced during the pandemic have been rather modest. Thus, it has been assumed that the Finnish social security system should provide a sufficient safety net for those hit by the crisis. Moreover, despite government’s explicit commitment to gender mainstreaming and gender equality, gender perspectives were not visibly present in its Covid-19 response.
Merita Mesiäislehto, Anna Elomäki, Johanna Närvi, Miska Simanainen, Hanna Sutela, Tapio Räsänen
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- Koko viite: Mesiäislehto M., Elomäki A., Närvi J., Simanainen M., Sutela H., & Räsänen T. (2022). The gendered impacts of the Covid-19 crisis in Finland and the effectiveness of the policy responses: Findings of the project "The impact of the Covid-19 crisis in Finland". Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare. https://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-343-800-2