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Equality Grows Where We Nourish It

Today is the 112th time we mark International Women's Day in Denmark. And even though there is a widespread opinion in our country that "it is going very well with equality", we must state that it is not right. The most important thing we can do to promote equality today is to recognize that we are not on target. Say it out loud. And act accordingly.

Gender inequality thrives best when we don't talk about it. And it still thrives in the Danish management corridors, in our gender-segregated labour market, on payslips, in pension assets and the way we distribute maternity leave. But, fortunately, we can change that.

It takes persistence. But change is possible. That is why we must also pay tribute and recognize when speeches are followed by action. Maternity is a good example here. Last year we got legislation earmarking more maternity leave for fathers. And in the collective agreement we have just negotiated in place with FA (Danish Employers’ Association), one of the main points is that the maternity period for fathers and co-mothers is extended by 10 weeks to a total of 26 weeks with full pay and pension. A very important step towards more equality in our sector.

In companies too, we see a new preoccupation with equality and diversity. We see a desire to act. It shows a willingness to work together – between management, union representatives and employees – to promote equality and diversity. The methods can be many and varied, but regardless of whether it is by setting up a diversity committee or initiating talent programmes, we welcome it.

Even though it might sound a bit corny, equality grows where we nourish. Because there should no longer be any doubt that a better "gender balance" and increased diversity are simply good for our workplaces. There is good evidence that a better balance between the sexes - and increased diversity and inclusion at all levels in Danish companies - is the path to a happy working life, thriving companies and a fairer society. It is not easy.

Too often the biggest challenges are culture and stereotypes, where we – consciously or unconsciously – stop each other. But we must find the courage and get going. After all, it is both about what kind of working life we want and what kind of society we want to be. Are we serious when we boast that we are a country where children, young people and adults have the same opportunities to fulfil their potential regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, religion, sexual orientation or disability.

 So even if we on the 112th commemoration of International Women's Day can be a little impatient, let's be happy that it's sprouting. And fight on.

Happy March 8th.

Together for Gender Equality

Get to know Finansforbundet's thoughts, meet the role models, and try our quiz about myths about equality in Denmark.

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