Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

"It just doesn't happen by itself": Sanna Marin calls for gender equality laws

Prime Minister of Finland Sanna Marin arrives to attend the European Union leaders summit, in Brussels, Belgium December 13, 2019.   REUTERS/Christian Hartmann/Pool - RC2AUD9UJF0J

"We need laws and we need structures that lead the way to gender equality ... it just doesn't happen by itself." Image: REUTERS/Christian Hartmann/Pool

Belinda Goldsmith
Editor-in-Chief, Thomson Reuters Foundation
Share:
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Education, Gender and Work is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Education, Gender and Work

Sanna Marin, the world's youngest prime minister at the age of 34, says it is not 'that big a deal' for women to be in power in Finland but she welcomes the debate her election has triggered.

Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin called on Thursday (23 Jan) for governments and companies to do more to ensure women were treated fairly, saying equality would not happen by itself.

Gender parity is a big theme at the 50th annual World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos, with a host of reports highlighting continued wealth and opportunity gaps worldwide.

Marin, the world's youngest prime minister at the age of 34, said it was not "that big a deal" for women to be in power in Finland but she welcomed the debate her election had triggered.

"Hopefully in the future it will be the new normal," Marin told a less-than-full session on gender parity, where most of the audience was women.

"We need laws and we need structures that lead the way to gender equality ... it just doesn't happen by itself."

Have you read?

About 3,000 members of the political, philanthropic and corporate elite - gathered for four days in the Swiss Alps - have heard how the free market fails women, who do most domestic work and caring, limiting their paid opportunities.

An Oxfam report released as the summit opened found women and girls did three-quarters of unpaid work, putting in 12.4 billion hours a day - worth $10.8 trillion a year.

A WEF report last month said it would take 99.5 years to close the gender gap across politics, economics, health and education, according to current trends.

A WEF spokesman said female participation among the attendees at the summit had risen to 24% this year from 22% last year with a commitment by the organisation to double it by 2030.

As well as Marin, other headliners ranged from German Chancellor Angela Merkel to 17-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg and Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone.

"But equality isn't something that is only a women's issue, it is also an issue for men," said Marin, elected last month.

Thando Hopa, the first female model with albinism to appear on Vogue's front cover, called on business and political leaders to actively give women opportunities. "An absence of representation does not translate into an absence of life, of talent or of value," said the 31-year-old lawyer as she strode across the stage to a backdrop of colourful images from her modelling career.

"Be deliberate about diversity and inclusion."

South African model and activist Thando Hopa poses at the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland on January 22, 2020.
Thando Hopa an activist and model from South Africa poses in Davos, Switzerland. Image: Thomson Reuters Foundation/Belinda Goldsmith

Gabriela Ramos, chief of staff at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, said progress was slow despite a growing awareness of women's economic worth.

She said governments should be more proactive in reviewing tax systems and rules to address the gender gap.

"There is a very strong role for governments as regulators," said Ramos. "We need concrete solutions."

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Equity, Diversity and InclusionEconomic Growth
Share:
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

Are 'finfluencers' the future of financial advice?

Aru Bhat and Sofia Eckrich

July 17, 2024

3:37

About Us

Events

Media

Partners & Members

  • Sign in
  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum