Composition of European Commission

I am writing this post due to the fact that Finland´s broadcasting company YLE, which is funded through tax income, today announced that Finland´s upcoming Prime Minister Antti Rinne (Social Democrats) has promised that Finland´s next European Commissioner will be a female.

In its more than 24 years of membership in the European Union, Finland that joined the EU on January 1st 1995, has never before had a female European Commissioner.

Why does this matter?

Well, in the European Commission currently all major decisions are being made by 28 commissioners, one from each current EU member state. EU Commissioners hold the real power, and only 32 % of current EU commissioners are females. 68 % are males.

Antti Rinne, currently running negotiations to create a new government in Finland after the parliamentary elections held in April 2019, said on the YLE news today that it is about time for Finland to elect a female EU Commissioner to break the glass ceiling that has been holding back female candidates from powerful leadership positions for far too long. The EU Commissioner will be assigned by the upcoming government in Finland.

To achieve one of its main goals in addition to being a Union of peace, the European Union should take into consideration how equality, including gender equality, can be reached within the Union. Currently only 9 out of 28 commissioners are females. The vast majority of decisions concerning more than 512 million of inhabitants within the European Union are thus made by males. If we are going to build and to maintain an equal European Union, it is about time for its decision-makers to take into consideration the fact that at least 50 % (or more) of the EU´s members are females. Thus, the representation of females in the EU Commission should represent an equal share (at least 50 % females of Commissioners). How this will be organized is a minor problem to be solved by the European Commission. Rotation could be one possibility, as in the Chairmanship of the European Union.

The European Commission should not only consist of 50 % females and 50 % males, but also be willing to delegate and to share its power to for instance the European Parliament. If 28 people, one from each EU member state, make decisions on behalf of more than 512 million citizens within the European Union, we are far from democracy. If decision-making in the EU were more democratic, perhaps more people would be interested in voting in the EU Parliament elections in the first place. At the time being, it is a miracle that more than 51 % of citizens are interested enough to give their vote in the elections. In Finland, only 42,9 % of citizens with a right to vote gave their vote in the May 2019 EU parliament elections.

Anne-Maria Yritys 28.5.2019

 

 

 

Gender equality and feminism

Why Should You Be(come) a FEMINIST?

Since it is my birthday I am asking every single male person in my contact network to take action and start supporting a gender equal movement, for instance UN Women’s “He For She”.
 
By doing so, and by learning more about gender in/equality, you can support the rights of girls and women to be heard and improved all around the world, for it is a great injustice that is taking place and that has to end.
 
The gender inequality problems vary from country to country. Here are some examples:
 
-Girls are being cut, i.e. their reproductive organs are being destroyed when very young, so that they cannot have pleasure later on in life. The cuttings include huge risks, such as not being able to conceive due to infections etc.
 
-Gendercide, femicide and selected (illegal) abortions, because females are unwanted.
 
-Rapes and physical violence against girls and women
 
-Domestic violence against girls and women, including psychological violence and emotional abuse
 
-No education for girls in poor families, because boys are regarded more valuable
 
-Terrorists such as the Boko Haram kidnapping and even killing girls from/in schools in countries like Nigeria and Pakistan, because they don’t want girls to have education/schooling
 
-Gender inequal legislation in many countries, prohibiting women for instance to decide over their own bodies or even from owning any land etc. = women have no rights at all
 
-Human and sex trafficking, victims of which are mainly (adult) women
 
-Inequal wages with women earning much less than men on the average, even in highly developed, industrialized countries and in the OECD
 
-Women not allowed to enter certain professions at all in many countries, including in Russia and the Philippines
 
What else? These were only some of the examples.
 
The role of men supporting women and gender equality plays a significant role. Without the support of those who currently discriminate the female gender, often just because “things have always been this way”, we cannot achieve gender equality. It is a very bad excuse to claim that you don’t know, because you do know and if you don’t, make sure to educate yourself and learn more awareness.
 
Even in the world’s most gender equal country, Finland, e.g. only 6% of all university professors are female. Rather strange in a country where women, on the average, are more educated than men. There is a hidden corruption system in this country, where men favor other men for certain roles, especially when it comes to high positions of leadership. Unfortunately.
 
So if you want to make me happy on my birthday, become a feminist and start supporting equal rights for girls and women, around the world.
 
You can start e.g. by reading The World Economic Forum´s “The Global Gender Gap Report 2017”. Download it for free at: https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-global-gender-gap-report-2017
 
Thank you.
 
Anne-Maria Yritys
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Gender equality and feminism

What is Gender Equality in the 21st Century?

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What is gender equality today, in the 21st century? Unfortunately, in many countries worldwide, the terms feminism and gender equality do not even seem to exist, have been banned from vocabulary, or are at least being hushed by majority of population, both women and men. Even in developed countries where females legislatively have equal rights with males, discrimination is widespread. For many, the word feminism seems to provoke negative feelings, whereby feminist females can be regarded as either lesbians or man-haters.

This is far from true. Those who know the meaning of the word feminism understand that feminism is a term used to describe the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes Merriam-Webster – Feminism | Definition of FEMINISM. Some feminists may of course be either bi-sexual or lesbian, but the word feminism should not be confused or mixed with the sexual orientation of anyone. In fact, many men are feminists. This is not an ideology dedicated to females. On the contrary, feminism is an ideology that supports equal rights for genders in general. Regretfully, some have not internalized this.

When I on March 8th 2015 published “365 Days a Year Dedicated for Women Globally”   on LinkedIn, a post dedicated to girls and women on the International Women´s Day, not everyone who read the post were delighted about it. After publishing “365 Days a Year Dedicated for Women Globally” I received not only angry comments, but also angry personal messages on LinkedIn. The topic is so sensitive in countries where the rights of girls and women are being oppressed that even discussing or writing about it awakens hatred in people.

Developed, progressive and democratic countries that are often defined to be gender equal are in fact not gender equal. These countries may have come closer to gender equality, but there is yet not one single country on Earth that can be defined as gender equal. The World Economic Forum, an organization committed to improving the state of the world, has been publishing The Global Gender Gap Report since 2006. The Global Gender Gap Report 2017 was published on November 2nd, 2017, analyzing the gender gaps in 144 countries. According to Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the WEF, “Talent is one of the most essential factors for growth and competitiveness. To build future economies that are both dynamic and inclusive, we must ensure that everyone has equal opportunity”. (WEF. The Global Gender Gap Report 2017).

One of the key findings in The Global Gender Gap Report 2017 was that the average gap worldwide in terms of gender equality is 32% (31,7% in 2016). Furthermore, with the current rate of development, gender gaps could be cut out within one century. According to the report, gender inequality is costly: global GDP (gross domestic product) could see an increase of 5.3 trillion USD within less than a decade by ensuring gender equality in economic participation.

Although the Nordic countries (Iceland, Norway, Finland, Sweden, and Denmark) have the smallest gender gaps on a global level, even these countries have failed to achieve gender equality. As a result of this, Iceland has as the first country in the world decided to introduce equal pay through legislation, whereby paying one gender less than the other will be illegal. This news has been received for instance in Finland, where I currently live, with differing opinions. Some claim, without sufficient understanding about the causes of unequal pay, that “men in Finland earn more than women because they work overtime while women decide not to”, or, “men earn more than women because of choice of occupation”. This allows us to ask whether it is legitimate that traditionally male-dominated professions pay more than female-dominated professions? Is there some specific reason to pay for instance engineers more than nurses?

The realization of gender inequality in both Sweden and Finland, two of the world´s most gender equal countries, has led to the emerging of new political parties. In Sweden, Feministiskt initiativ was established in 2005 with the purpose of “opposing all forms of discrimination” in Sweden. In Finland, the Feminist Party was registered as recently as on January 1st, 2017, as a result of the realization that feminism has not been achieved in Finland. The Finnish Feminist Party states following on its website: “Conventional political ideologies have not succeeded in solving discrimination, sexism and racism, which are known phenomenons in both capitalist and socialist countries.” (Feministinen Puolue – Why a new political party?).

Equality (gender equality) truly is the unfinished business of the 21st century. Abolishing all kinds of discrimination in our societies is a responsibility of everyone, regardless of gender, economic, political, or social status. The best way of ensuring equality is to start living it, and asking ourselves what each one of as can do to contribute to an equal society where all individuals, regardless of any external attributes, can live and thrive without any discrimination.

Connect with me on Twitter @annemariayritys. For climate/environment-related posts only @GCCThinkActTank. Subscribe to Leading With Passion to receive my latest posts.

 

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