Ombudsman for Equality

Overview:

The Ombudsman for Equality is an independent authority whose main duty is to supervise compliance with the Act on Equality between Women and Men. The Ombudsman has powers on matters related to gender, gender identity and gender expression. The powers of the Ombudsman consist of both combating discrimination and promoting equality. The Ombudsman carries out his tasks primarily by providing guidance and advice.

Brief history

The Ombudsman for Equality and the Office of the Ombudsman were established on January 1st, 1987, by the Act on the Ombudsman for Equality and the Equality Board. The Act on Equality between Women and Men came into force at the same time. 
In 2001 the administration of equality issues was reorganised in Finland and the personnel of the Ombudsman’s Office was divided between two units, the Office of the Ombudsman and the Gender Equality Unit, which is a unit of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. Until January 1, 2015, the Ombudsman was administratively located within the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.
The Act on Equality between Men and Women has been amended several times and the amendments have brought up new duties to the Ombudsman. Since the amendment of the Act in 2005 the Act has been interpreted to cover also discrimination faced by gender minorities. 
The Ombudsman for Equality is fully independent while performing her legislative duties. Since January 1, 2015, the Ombudsman has been administratively located under the administrative branch of the Ministry of Justice.

Mandate Type

Predominantly tribunal-type (quasi-judicial) body

Litigation power:

  • Formally deciding on complaints (e.g. decision or recommendation addressed to the parties) Not legally binding

Activities

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Activities aimed at supporting vulnerable groups ( e.g. through trainings )
Activities aimed at supporting duty bearers such as employers and service providers (e.g. through trainings, guidance material, practical support, etc.)
Communication activities (e.g. awareness raising campaigns)
Recommendations on discrimination issues
Publications and reports
Research projects (including surveys)

Our institution has a mandate to deal with:

  • Hate speech

Other statistics:

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Number of inquiries handled per year (all contact even if not resulting in a formal complaint)7958016587806856446977411046
Number of cases handled per year (case files opened and processed according to your procedures)169182172211390369383317537
Number of media appearances per year (major newspapers/magazines/websites/blogs, TV + radio channels) - does not include social media353235340349137

Other informations about the statistics

Number of cases handled per year: only the handled cases included (not the opened one)

Management

  • Single headed equality body (led by director or ombudsman/commissioner)

Management details

The Ombudsman is fully independent and impartial authority while performing her legislative duties but is administratively located under the administrative branch of the Ministry of Justice.

Procedure for nomination and appointment of management and board

The staff of the Office of the Ombudsman for Equality is appointed by the Ombudsman for Equality. The Ombudsman is appointed by the Council of State.

Number of staff dealing with equality issues

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
111111111110.5109.410.5

Grounds and fields of discrimination covered by the equality body

Grounds / Fields Employment Education Housing Social Protection & Healthcare Goods and Services Other
Gender
Gender Identity
Race and Ethnic Origin
Age
Disability
Sexual Orientation
Religion & Belief

Mandate covers:

  • Public sector
  • Private sector

Operating budget in euros

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
136000110000125000140000110170001206000995000960000

Operating budget in euros for the parts of the organisation dealing with equality issues (all types of functions)

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
136000110000125000140000140000

We are accountable to

  • National Parliament