PERSPECTIVE: Underappreciated women’s work
By Annukka Oksanen
Jorma, Olli-Pekka, Mikael, Matti, Simon, Tapani, Kari, Anssi, Ilari, Jussi, Petri, Walter, Toni, Kai, Antti, Pentti, Hannu, Kai and Kari.
Juha, Börje, Björn, Tapio, Berndt, Juhani, Matti, Erkki, Erkki, Jukka, Risto, Kalevi, Niklas, Robert, Heikki, Veli, Lasse, Teuvo, Matti and Georg. These are the top 39, and only after all those male names comes a Tarja.
Tarja Wist, a partner in the law firm Waselius & Wist, was the highest-paid woman in Finland in 2009. When men are included, she was in 40th place in terms of the amount of money earned in Finland last year.
In 2009 there were four women on the list of the 100 highest income-earners in Finland.
This is the situation in Finland, a country which always rises to the top in international comparisons on gender equality, and which takes pride in its female president and its female prime minister.
Women in Finland have been studying at universities since the 1870s. Equality has been discussed for decades as well, but the tax information reveals starkly that much still remains to be done.
It is easy to dismiss the publication of information on taxes and income as voyeurism. However, an examination of statistics is much more than gossiping and complaining about the salaries and income of other people.
Statistics reveal important information about society, such as, for instance, the poor status of women on the list of earned income.
The list is dominated by men in suits in large listed companies.
According to men, women in executive positions are cold, “difficult”, or incapable of cooperation.
Women say that they get fulfilment from the content of the work, and that high pay speaks of greed.
But enough of the explanations. Money is power. Pay is an indication of how much the work is appreciated.
It is shocking that it is not even possible to compare incomes of men and women in the earned income statistics, because there are not enough women on the list to make a comparison.
Helsingin Sanomat / First published in print 2.11.2010
The writer is the head of the business and finance news department of Helsingin Sanomat
Financial crisis cuts highest incomes in 2009 (2.11.2010)
ANNUKKA OKSANEN / Helsingin Sanomat