Kari Nenonen, Mayor of Vantaa, Jukka Mäkelä, Mayor of Espoo, and Jussi Pajunen, Mayor of Helsinki.The five largest cities in Finland all have men at the helm, reveals a new Helsingin Sanomat report.

Of Helsinki, Espoo, Tampere, Vantaa and Oulu, only Tampere is led by a woman, Mayor Anna-Kaisa Ikonen (NCP). Also the majority of other top-tier leaders in the main cities are men, with only under a third of the posts of mayor and deputy mayor or comparable positions being held by women.

This reflects the distribution of power in Finnish municipalities on the whole, according to PirkkoMäkinen, the ombudsman for equality.

”In the municipal sector, 56.1 per cent of the management are women. But only a small percentage of top posts are held by women and even when this is the case, they are usually small municipalities,” explains Mäkinen.

Mäkinen emphasises that the situation has also been different as at the end of the 1990s, Espoo, Helsinki and Vantaa all had women as mayors.

From the perspective of equality, the most challenging the situation is in Espoo, where the mayor and all of the deputy mayors are men.

”I recommend that Espoo pay more attention to this in their equality strategy and encourage women to apply for top posts,” says Mäkinen.

According to information Helsingin Sanomat received from municipalities, the management of municipal offices, departments and companies is still a male domain. Only under 40 per cent of the departmental heads in the five major cities are women.

City management being male-dominated is also reflected in the wages municipalities are paying, with the table of the top 20 earners featuring only four women, none of whom made it to top 10 in 2013.

Helsingin Sanomat obtained information on wages of 151 city leaders.

Mayors and department heads in Helsinki, Espoo, Tampere and Oulu earned 102,000 euros a year on average, with male leaders’ average pay reaching 106,000 euros while women had to settle with 94,000 euros.

Jukka Mäkelä (NCP), Mayor of Espoo, had the highest income, earning just under 206,000 euros, including all compensations.

City leaders’ wages are similar to the earnings of the top state officials.

Erkki Virtanen, the head of the corporate steering unit of the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, for example made 196,000 euros in wages and as capital income in 2012 while Raimo Sailas, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Finance, earned around 173,000 euros in the same year.

These wages are still a far cry from the earnings of the bosses of listed companies, with, for example, Matti Alahuhta, who will step down as the managing director of Kone at the end of month, making a whopping 4.8 million euros last year.

Joonas Laitinen – HS
Niina Woolley – HT
Image: Juhani Niiranen / HS