Finland hits equality milestone as men and women work same hours

Finnish fathers spend more time on childcare than in years gone by

Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin leads a female-majority Cabinet. EPA
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Finland has announced a gender equality milestone as men and women worked an almost equal number of hours for the first time on record.

The figures include unpaid domestic work and reveal that men's contribution to housework and childcare has noticeably risen.

In decades past, women worked longer in total because of their roles in domestic labour.

But “the time used by men for gainful employment has decreased and that used for domestic work has increased”, analysts at Statistics Finland said.

“For women, there has been a decrease in the time used for both activities. The time spent especially on childcare has increased among men.”

Finland is known as one of the world's most equal countries, where women make up a majority of Cabinet ministers and just under half of MPs.

However, Prime Minister Sanna Marin was forced to shelve a law on pay equality in August because her coalition could not agree a position.

Finland is known as one of Europe's most equal countries. AFP

The new figures showed that men in Finland worked an average of five hours and 17 minutes a day in 2020-2021, while women worked five hours and 16 minutes.

Women spent an average of 37 minutes longer on domestic work every day, but this gap has narrowed.

Men with jobs spent slightly longer on childcare than women in employment, although this was not the case for household tasks such as cooking and cleaning.

“Fathers of new generations clearly spend more time on childcare than fathers 20 to 40 years ago,” researchers said.

The figures are based on a year-long survey of 21,278 people in Finland aged 10 and over, who were given diaries to record their use of time.

It is the fifth such survey since 1979 and the first in which there has been next to no gender gap in total hours worked.

Updated: November 11, 2022, 3:56 PM