Money, bills and a calculator on a table. A notable gender pay gap persists in Finland, despite the median taxable income of women increasing more than that of men in the past decade, reports Helsingin Sanomat. (Jussi Nukari – Lehtikuva)


THE WAGES of Finnish women have increased faster than those of men in recent years, reports Helsingin Sanomat.

The Finnish Tax Administration has revealed that the median taxable income for women has increased by 14.6 per cent since 2014, while those of men have increased by 13.7 per cent. Women have seen higher pay rises than men also in the highest income decile, 15.9 per cent compared to 15.3 per cent.

The development, though, has hardly been enough to eliminate the gender wage gap: the median earnings of women are only 78.3 of those of men in Finland.

Helsingin Sanomat in March wrote that the threshold for ranking in the highest income decile stood at 51,356 euros for women and 70,246 euros for men, meaning rich women are only paid 73 cents for each euro earned by men. Women, it added, earned more than men only in the lowest income decile, which in 2021 consisted of women earning less than 7,094 euros and men earning less than 6,979 euros.

The gender wage gap has been attributed to factors such as women being employed in female-dominated public sectors and men in male-dominated private sectors. Paula Koskinen Sandberg, a research professor at Tampere University, told the newspaper a couple of years ago that the earnings reflect preconceptions about the nature of work done by women and men.

“This is also associated with wage discrimination, and questions about the unequal distribution of care and how it affects women’s careers and opportunities to be on an equal footing with men in the labour market,” she said to Helsingin Sanomat in May 2020.

The gender wage gap persists also in the private sector. According to Statistics Finland, the median income for men with regular working hours was about 4,000 and for women about 3,120 euros in 2021.

The data also reveal that there are only a few occupations where women earn better than men on average: office cleaners, information system administrators, clerks and other white-collar workers in banks, laboratory technicians, kitchen assistants, gardening assistants, and vocational education teachers.

Helsingin Sanomat pointed out that the occupations are primarily low paid, with information system administrators and vocational education teachers the only groups to earn more than the median wage in 2021.

Insurance representatives, financial and investment advisors, credit and loan specialists, lawyers and advertising and marketing specialists contrastively had the largest wage gap in favour of men. Men working regular hours as insurance representatives reported a median income of 5,010 euros and women one of 3,360 euros in 2021.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT