According to the updated Glass Ceiling Index by the Finnish Business and Policy Forum (EVA), the proportion of women in leadership positions in Finland stood at 36.3 percent in 2022. While this figure is higher than the OECD average, it reveals stagnation in gender diversity within leadership roles in the country. In recent years, the percentage of women in leadership positions has even decreased.
In comparison to other OECD countries, Finland fares relatively well in terms of female representation in leadership positions, but challenges remain. European Union directives require that by the summer of 2026, women should hold 40 percent of board seats in the largest publicly traded companies, where they are currently at 36.1 percent in Finland.
"The path to the boardroom often goes through a company's executive team and the position of CEO. Quotas serve as a weak band-aid for Finland's gender equality issues. One significant factor is education. In Finland, the education sector is notably gendered. The most striking gap is in the fields of natural sciences, technical sciences, and engineering, where there's a 40 percentage point difference between men and women who have received education in these fields. Such a stark disparity in educational choices exists only in Austria among OECD countries," notes Emilia Kullas, Director of EVA.
The differentiation in subject choices by girls and boys begins as early as middle school and persists throughout their educational journeys.
"The best way to promote gender equality is to support the market economy and encourage entrepreneurship, particularly in female-dominated social and healthcare sectors. Even more crucial is to focus on the educational choices of children and young people, igniting girls' interest in mathematics and technology," emphasizes Kullas.
EVA's Glass Ceiling Index monitors the development of women's status in leadership positions, labor force participation, and education across different countries. Additionally, the index includes updates on average household childcare expenditures and state-sponsored maternity leave benefits in various nations.