The Council for Gender Equality (Tane)

The Council for Gender Equality (Tane), established in 1972, is one of Finland's gender equality authorities. It is a permanent council in which parliamentary parties are represented in proportion to the results of parliamentary elections. Due to its wide-ranging party political representation, Tane's statements play an important role when Finnish gender equality policy guidelines are drafted.

Duties of the Council

The Council for Gender Equality (Tane) works to promote gender equality in society. It is an equality policy actor that drafts proposals and makes statements to develop legislation and other measures that affect gender equality. The council also organises various events and seminars, and produces publications. Tane has an advisory role in state administration.

Tane may set up subcommittees and working groups to support its activities. The subcommittees and working groups act as experts in their fields and prepare the council’s decisions

The Council for Gender Equality duties include:

  • monitoring and promoting the implementation of gender equality in society
  • presenting initiatives and proposals as well as issuing statements, to develop legislation affecting gender equality and other gender equality measures 
  • promoting cooperation between authorities, organisations, and researchers 
  • promoting research on gender equality and the implementation of research findings 
  • monitoring the international development of the field.

The duties of the council are defined in Government decree 389/2001.

Subcommittees and working groups

The Council for Gender Equality (Tane) can set up subcommittees from among its members and with the permission of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health invite permanent expert advisers to the subcommittees. In addition, the council will appoint different working groups, as necessary. 

The subcommittees can propose discussion topics, events, the establishment of working groups and other measures to the Council for Gender Equality related to the subcommittee’s field of expertise on which Tane will then make the final decision. Subcommittees aim to promote research activities related to gender equality and the utilisation of this research.

The task of the working groups is defined by Tane. The task may be to monitor a certain legislative reform or to prepare Tane's campaigning. The term of office of the working groups varies, as necessary. 

History of the council

In 2022, it will have been 50 years since the first Council on Gender Equality was appointed. The council's gender equality policy initiatives and discussions have been pioneering in Finland. Many of the initiatives promoted by Tane have indeed been the start of a social development process. Among other things, Tane proposed the introduction of paternity leave ten years before it was implemented. Work to prevent violence against women and human trafficking have also been on Tane’s agenda for several centuries.

From an international perspective, the cooperation in Tane and its subcommittees between researchers in gender studies and politicians is unique. Due to its operating model, the council can be seen as a pioneer in combining gender equality policy and gender studies (formerly women's studies). 

Men and gender equality is a key part of Tane’s work By international comparisons the Subcommittee on Men and Gender Equality established by the Council for Gender Equality in 1988, is presumably the longest continuously operating advisory body to look at gender equality from the perspective of men.

Tane has actively promoted international equality work, especially in the Nordic countries. The council has engaged in close cooperation with Swedish and Estonian equality authorities, organisations and researchers. Tane has been involved in organising several international events, such as a Nordic seminar on work to prevent violence (1990), the first European Conference on Gender Equality in Higher Education (1998) and the International Roma Women’s Conference (2013).

The history of the council has been compiled in a publication written in Finnish:
Tanen aiheet ja vaiheet - Tasa-arvoasiain neuvottelukunta 40 vuotta (PDF), Tane-julkaisuja 14/2012

Tane’s Chairs

Meeri Kalavainen 1972–1981
Eeva Kuuskoski-Vikatmaa 1981–1987
Aila Jokinen 1987–1989
Liisa Jaakonsaari 1989–1992
Tuula Kuittinen 1992–1995
Tuula Haatainen 1995–2003
Sirkka-Liisa Anttila 2003–2007
Heidi Hautala 2007–2011
Jukka Relander 2011–2015
Sari Raassina 2015–2019
Jirka Hakala 2019–