News 14 Oct 2021

What effect has corona crisis had on gender equality?

The corona pandemic has affected men and women in different ways. Women’s employment fell more during 2020, and women also felt that loneliness had increased more often than men did. Remote work grew less among men than among women.

The corona crisis diminished the employment rate of young people in particular regardless of gender. All in all, the effect of the corona crisis on employment was harder for women than for men. In 2020, the number of employed persons fell by 25,000 among women and by 13,000 among men compared with the previous year.*)  

Of women, 53.3 per cent say that remote work increased in 2020, of men 44 per cent. The economic situation had weakened for around as many people irrespective of gender, for 21.3 per cent of women and for 21.6 per cent of men.

“The corona crisis has affected gender equality in many ways. It has had an effect on work and livelihood, caused concern in everyday life and reduced contacts with relatives and friends. Intimate partner violence cases have also increased during the crisis. It is particularly important to monitor gender equality through statistical data in a crisis situation,” says Senior Researcher Marjut Pietiläinen from Statistics Finland.

For 65.4 per cent of women, contacts with friends and relatives decreased due to the corona pandemic, while the corresponding figure for men is 59.1 per cent. Feelings of loneliness had increased for 37.6 per cent of women and for 25.9 per cent of men.

The data have been compiled into the Gender Equality in Finland 2021 publication (PDF), which has been published as an online version. The publication compiles statistics on different topics and approaches them from the perspective of equality. The information package contains statistics on, for example, families, education, wages and salaries and time use. The data have been compiled from Statistics Finland’s and other data producers’ data. In addition to the effects of the coronavirus, the environment is a new topic this year.

Women are in minority in leadership positions in society

The realisation of gender equality in different managerial positions of society can be followed with many indicators.  

“Those in leadership positions can have power in public decision-making or in the business world. The follow-up data on the number of women and men in managerial positions helps to illustrate the situation and address possible problems,” says Senior Statistician Laura Lipasti from Statistics Finland.

In 2019, altogether 30.4 per cent of university principals and professors were women. Women’s share on the board members of listed companies was 28.7 per cent in 2018. The share of women among municipal managers was 26.8 per cent in 2019. In politics, women's share is higher - nearly one-half, or 47 per cent, of the MPs elected to Parliament in 2019 were women. In the Municipal elections 2021, women's share of candidates was 39.7 per cent and 40.2 per cent of elected councillors. Women's share as municipal decision-makers has multiplied since 1956, when 7.3 per cent of elected councillors were women.

More information on gender equality can be found on Statistics Finland’s thematic pages on gender equality.

PDF version of the publication

The Gender Equality in Finland publication is also published as a printed copy. The publications can be ordered from PunaMusta Oy’s online store and customer service tel. +358 10 2308 365.

*) Labour Force Survey figures are produced according to the method valid until the end of 2020. The figures are not comparable with those of the Labour Force Survey revised from the beginning of 2021.

Further information:
Marjut Pietiläinen, Senior Researcher, +358 29 5512 798,
Laura Lipasti, Senior Statistician, +358 29 5513 041,