Photo the Finnish Defence Forces, Jarno Riipinen.

Equality and gender equality in the Finnish Defence Forces

Equality and gender equality have been top priorities in the Finnish Defence Forces since 2006. Progress in equality and gender equality are regularly monitored with surveys carried out among regular personnel and conscripts. The possible effect of layoffs on the gender balance among regular personnel were closely monitored during the latest defence reform.

The Defence Command has an equality and gender equality plan that it regularly updates. In addition, each FDF administrative unit has its own equality and gender equality plan that takes into consideration local conditions and conscripts. When a local plan is being devised, possible equality issues are identified and measures are devised to counter such problems.

Guidance, orders and improvements in the training culture have yielded results; the number of hazing and bullying cases, for instance, has dropped significantly among conscripts.

Principles of equality and gender equality in the Finnish Defence Forces

It is the basic right of every conscript and member of personnel to be able to serve and train in an environment where equality and gender equality are respected. When equality and gender equality exist, men and women, personnel from different personnel groups and conscripts, people of different origin and with differing personal characteristics, all have an equal opportunity to make choices, grow as service personnel and conscripts, and be rewarded.

Each unit ensures that their working culture and language fosters equality and gender equality. Every member of personnel and conscript has the responsibility to build and maintain a positive working culture and each and every one is to ensure that no one is treated unfairly.

Whatever the activity, the Finnish Defence Forces strive to offer their regular personnel and conscripts a healthy, safe and enjoyable working environment and military service. There is no room for harassment or hazing in a unit that has a good team spirit where everyone is aware and committed to common goals.