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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UN Women: Women To Be Heard When Tackling Climate Change

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“UN Women. UN Women calls for women to be heard at all levels of decision-making, from households to political arenas.”

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On October 24th is the annual United Nations Day which marks the anniversary of the UN Charter that entered into force in 1945. On this day, it is worthwhile to remember WHY the United Nations was established in the first place. Do you know WHY the UN was established?

The original purpose of the United Nations, as an intergovernmental organization, was to ensure peace (and, peaceful resolution of conflicts) after World War II. Gradually, the organization grew its original role from maintaining peace to the protection of human rights, the promotion of social and economic development, and disaster aid/relief in times of famine, natural disasters and armed conflicts. (United Nations Day, 24 October).

Furthermore and inclusive to the protection of human rights, the United Nations organization UN Women is dedicated to enhancing and protecting the rights of girls and women around the world, with a focus upon campaigning especially for and in regions where girls and women´s rights need attention and ought to be developed and improved e.g. through legislation and enabling equal rights for girls and women in terms of education and work life opportunities.

Even developed countries, including Finland, have work to do in order to ensure 50/50, i.e. complete gender equality. Every country on this planet has work to do in terms of gender equality, be it eradicating domestic violence or ensuring that human beings have equal rights e.g. in terms of equal payments/ salaries. Iceland will be the first country in the world to end salary inequality and discrimination through changing its legislation to enable this.

UN Women is one of the leading organizations worldwide driving gender equality issues, including the fact that girls and women should be heard and involved concerning climate change issues equally much as boys and men. It is important to enable this,  allow women to participate, and empower women especially in developing countries to get their voices heard on every level in the society. Only by giving women the possibility to use their knowledge, resources, and take the lead in terms of climate change related activities can we reach our goals to end anthropogenic climate change and create sustainable change across societies worldwide.

Watch International Labour Organization´s video “Why gender matters in climate change financing”:

 

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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How Can Women´s Expertise Be Of Value in Tackling Climate Change?

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“UN Women. Through their experiences and traditional knowledge of many natural resources, women can offer valuable insights into better managing the climate and its risks.”

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As equally valuable human beings with equal human rights, girls and women make up around half of world population (the human sex ratio for women in 2013 was 49.6% of total world population according to Worldometers Population by Gender, Age, Fertility Rate, Immigration). If it was not for gendercide, including illegal and selected abortions, the number of females in certain countries would be higher. This has to end. Girls and women are equally important human beings as boys and men, and should be treated as such – without having to live in fear of being discriminated, harassed, or, assaulted because of gender inequality and discrimination.

According to UN Women, women are especially important when it comes to climate change and (natural) disasters thanks to their multitude of experience and skills in terms of risk management, including disaster preparedness and response. (UN Women APAC: Climate Action: Women hold the key).

Watch DW English Women in Bangladesh fight climate change / Global Ideas:

What are your thoughts regarding the empowerment of women and ending gender inequality? How can we tackle a) gender inequality b) empower women c) climate change with the help of women especially?

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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Empowering Women Worldwide

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Each year on March 8th, International Women´s Day is being celebrated worldwide. Some men have asked, why women must be celebrated? Why do men have no International Men´s Day? Should we rather ask why we actually need an International Day for Women?
The purpose of International Women´s Day is to remind us all of the fact that we are yet far from having reached gender equality. Women across the world must get their voices heard. Due to many different reasons, including culture, tradition, legislature etc., many countries/societies across our globe prevent women from having the same opportunities in life as men.
What we all must understand is that empowering women through women´s birthright, Universal Human Rights, that apply to both genders, we contribute to developing a sustainable global economy, where all human beings have equal access e.g. to education and to workforce (and, a profession of their choice/level of education, knowledge and skills), narrowing down gender gaps and transforming societies to become less gender oriented.
According to research and statistics, girls and women that have equal access to primary, to secondary, and even to higher education give birth to fewer children. Not that children would be unwanted in our world, but when girls and women are economically empowered through education and through an unlimited access to the global job market/have the possibility of practicing their learned profession/becoming entrepreneurs, it has multiple beneficial effects upon societies, including better health for both women and children, and less poverty. In our overpopulated world with too many children suffering from hunger, malnutrition and poverty, it is important for parents to have the opportunity of raising healthy children which ultimately will lead to healthier economies and societies.
By giving girls and women equal opportunities and allowing females to access their basic human rights, economies and societies worldwide empower and help women to be capable of taking care of, not only their own futures, but the futures of their children equally.
What can you do as a man to help and to support an equal economy? There are countless ways of empowering girls and women, starting within the close family system/relatives/your community. Learn more about the worldwide facts regarding gender equality. Integrate gender equality into your daily life at home, at work, in your community. Understand that empowering girls and women will benefit men as well, when responsibilities are distributed equally within homes, and in working environments.
What can you do as a girl/as a woman? There is no simple response to this question, since the state of equality between genders varies from country to country. I could write, learn and be aware of your (human) rights as a girl/woman, but it is not that simple taking into consideration that currently not every girl/woman is aware of their Universal Human Rights. How can you empower yourself to take action for improving your life as a girl/woman if you are unaware of your basic human rights? However, those girls and women who are aware of their basic human rights should claim access to those fearlessly, empower themselves and other women to become active citizens of the world to make their voices heard and contribute to an increasingly much democratic world where both men and women can live up to their full potential as equal human beings.

Happy International Women´s Day! 

Click here to read related post: 

365 Days a Year Dedicated for Women Globally

Click here to access International Women´s Day presentation: 

International Women´s Day Thought Leadership

 

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Empowering & Supportive Leadership

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Read more here:

Empowering & Supportive Leadership

365 Days a Year Dedicated for Women Globally

Education Narrows Down Gender Gaps

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Read more here:

Education Narrows Down Gender Gaps

365 Days a Year Dedicated for Women Globally

Empowering Women

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Read more here:

Empowering Women

365 Days a Year Dedicated for Women Globally

Together We Are Stronger

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Read more here:

Together We Are Stronger

365 Days a Year Dedicated for Women Globally