The government led by 34 years-old youngest Female Prime Minister in the world, Sanna Marin, announced a plan to give equal paid parental leave for men and women.
The policy gives nearly seven months of paid leave to each parent, for a total of almost 14 months of paid leave.
“The reform will be a major change in attitudes, as it will improve equality between parents and make the lives of diverse families easier. The reform will support all kinds of families and ensure equal leaves for children regardless of the form of the family,“ Minister of Social Affairs and Health Aino-Kaisa Pekonen said in a statement.
The new policy still isn’t as generous as the parental leave policy in Sweden. Sweden has Europe’s longest parental leave policy, offering 240 days per parent. A 2019 UNICEF report evaluated “family-friendly” policies— such as the duration of paid parental leave and childcare service— across the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and European Union (EU) with available data from 2016.
UNICEF found that Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Estonia and Portugal offer the best policies and that Switzerland, Greece, Cyprus, United Kingdom and Ireland rank the lowest. Estonia offered mothers the longest duration of leave at full pay at 85 weeks followed by Hungary (72 weeks) and Bulgaria (65 weeks). UNICEF found that the U.S. was the only country included in the analysis with no national paid leave policy for mothers or fathers.
Finland’s combination of five parties, all led by women of whom four are under 35 years old, took office in December and has made gender equality a priority.
Speaking at the 50th annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos last month, Prime Minister Sanna Marin called for states and companies to do more to ensure women were treated fairly, saying gender equality “doesn’t happen by itself”.