(Re)searching for Equality in Working Life
WeAll-project

Social and Economic Sustainability of Future Working Life

Researcher Blog

NORDIC VOICE REQUIRED: A call from Norway

In today’s global political climate, research on inequality and diversity is of increasing importance. Nordic countries have a particular duty and a unique opportunity to lead the way. How do we describe the international current political climate for equality? Basic human rights are being challenged, even in countries that previously were in the forefront of defending the rights of oppressed peoples. The massive refugee crisis has witnessed many countries turning their backs on those in need, and discriminatory legislation against women, religious groups, and non-heteronormative people, still exists in many regions of the world. In social media, racist, xenophobic, homophobic, and misogynist attitudes and behaviors appear to be increasing. On the other hand, we have seen great strides towards equality in the last 50 years and many people who were previously without a voice are being heard. Transgender rights are increasingly recognized, and same sex marriage has been enshrined in law in over twenty nations. Progress in gender equality and rights for minority groups has been achieved in many regions of the world. Popular films, books, and television series represent more and more diverse and minority people. Thus we are moving backward and forward at the same time. No one country has “achieved equality”. We must remember that equality is not an end state but a process that we must keep fighting for, through activism, research and dissemination. It seems that recently the process of equality and inclusion in several countries is starting to slide backwards - so now is the time to counter with role models for forward momentum. Why should the Nordic countries lead? The Nordic countries have a unique opportunity and duty to maintain, improve and lead in areas of equality. Currently these countries are world leaders in equality, and general human development.[1] Examples of equality in practice and policy range from Norwegian laws on quotas for women on boards, to Icelandic equal representation in parliament, to excellent parental leave in all the Nordic countries. The Nordic welfare model supports these advancements. The model has its roots in equality, strong government responsibility, high employment, and a tradition of social dialogue, which reflects the cultural values and provides the firm foundation for equality legislation. Still, this picture is also complicated. Although Nordic countries have achieved many successes there are still areas of deep concern. Some examples are the high level of occupational segregation, challenges with integration of immigrants, and a high prevalence of domestic violence. We should expect the Nordic countries, as leaders in equality, to share the complete picture: what is working and what needs to be improved.  Good research and research dissemination from the Nordic countries is essential for the equality agenda. Why is research important? With the advent of global communication and social media, access for an unprecedented number of people to share their comments and opinions is available. There exists a wonderful opportunity for democracy; however the flip side is that this outpouring of opinion can lead to polarization and general disregard for science, research, knowledge, and facts.  In a world that makes room for “alternative” facts, we have a duty to present the data and the models to guide us towards a better one. We need to be a part of the production of knowledge, which requires systematic and critical thinking. In the global dialogue, we have to stand up for the questions, and the discussions based on research and scientific principles, and counter the people and institutions spreading half-truths and falsehoods. We must remember that we can never have the complete picture and that the picture is constantly changing. Reality is many-sided and as researchers, we need to make sure that we keep an open mind, encourage curiosity, and learn from mistakes. This is not about winning debates but adding to knowledge. That means no simple stories and sharing the Nordic experience through solid research. Conclusion Role models are not perfect but they are visible, vocal, and they share. The Nordic countries are currently in the forefront on many equality issues and practices. Researchers in these countries need to keep monitoring the progress, dispelling myths and stereotypes with facts, rejecting simple sweeping explanations, and building knowledge instead of walls of prejudice. The current global political climate needs to hear the Nordic voice of, and for equality. Laura E. Mercer Traavik is a gender researcher based in BI Norwegian Business School. Traavik visited WeAll-Project in late 2016. https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-global-gender-gap-report-2016  and http://hdr.undp.org/en [1]

Stakeholder blog

Utopiaa vai uusia mahdollisuuksia?

Kun puhutaan perheestä ja työstä tai siitä miten käytännössä isyyttä, äitiyttä tai omaishoitajuutta pitäisi tukea, puhutaan hoivatyöstä ja palveluista, mutta myös työkulttuurista, ajankäytöstä ja sukupuolten välisestä tasa-arvosta. Työmarkkinoille syntyy juuri nyt perinteisten organisaatioiden rinnalle jakamis- ja alustatalouden pioneereja ja luovia itsensä työllistäjiä, toisaalta valtavia globaaleja yritysjättiläisiä. Ero pienimmän, yhden ihmisen työpaikan, ja vastaavasti maailman suurimman yrityksen – yli 13 miljoonaa työntekijää – välinen ero on valtava. Elämäntilanteiden ja perhekokoonpanojen moninaisuus yllättää kenet tahansa. Samaan aikaan syntyvyys on Suomessa on painunut muutamassa vuodessa 1860-luvun nälkävuosien tasolle. Tämä tieto on yllättänyt monet tutkijat ja päättäjät. Suomen ei pitänyt joutua syntyvyyden osalta samaan jamaan kuin monet Euroopan maat. Meillä asioiden piti olla paremmin. Perheen ja läheisten kanssa eläminen yhdistyy monin tavoin työpaikkojen arkeen sekä suurilla että pienillä työpaikoilla. Työn, perheen, uran ja arjen kysymykset uivat syvissä vesissä: ne koskevat yksilöiden vapauksia, yhteisöllistä tasapuolisuutta ja todellista tasa-arvoa. Ne tulevat pinnalle, kun kysytään: Kuka tekee mitäkin, millä ajalla ja rahalla, kuka päättää mistäkin, mihin suuntaan pyrimme? Sosiaalisesti ja ekologisesti kestävien uusien ratkaisujen perusteeksi tarvitaan talouden ja työelämän kentille paitsi uutta tutkimustietoa ja laaja-alaista näkemystä, myös visionäärisyyttä ja herkkyyttä asioiden välisten vaikutussuhteiden ymmärtämisessä. Missä konkreettisissa asioissa perheitä koskeva lainsäädäntö laahaa jäljessä Suomessa, entä muissa maissa? Voisivatko säädökset olla edistyksellisiä? Mitkä ilmiöt työelämässä pikemminkin rajoittavat kuin mahdollistavat arjen toimivuutta ja työntekijöiden tehokkuutta? Miten luottamusta saadaan aikaan niin, että nuoret uskovat työllistyvänsä – ja myös työllistyvät. Miten uskalletaan unelmoida ja toteuttaa haaveet omasta perheestä? Entä kuka minua hoivaa, jos en itse enää pysty huolehtimaan itsestäni? Jos yksittäinen työpaikka organisaationa haluaa kehittyä paremmaksi ja vastuullisemmaksi kuin mikään laki, TES tai VES edellyttää, tämä on jo nyt mahdollista. Moni työnantaja on ottanut innostuneesti vastaan pilottipaikan uudessa Perheystävällinen työpaikka -ohjelmassa. Työyhteisö saa ohjelmaan osallistumisen aikana tukea ja ohjausta omalle kehittämistyölleen. Henkilöstö ja esimiehet tulevat kuulluiksi organisaationsa lähtötilanteen kartoituksessa ja kehittämistyön edetessä. Uusia ideoita syntyy, toimimattomista rakenteista luovutaan. Perheystävällisyys, yhdenvertaisuus ja tasa-arvo etenevät rinnakkain.  Parhaat työpaikat voivat tulevaisuudessa saada Suomessakin tunnuksen perheystävällisyydestään. Joissakin maissa tämä on jo mahdollista. Yritysten sosiaalinen vastuu, työn ja muun elämän tasapaino sekä hoivatyön huomioiminen ovat nousussa muuallakin. Kestävillä henkilöstön työn ja muun elämän tasapainoa tukevilla keinoilla on työyhteisöille, työnantajille koko yhteiskunnalle mittavia hyötyjä, jotka näkyvät muun muassa säästöinä sairauspoissaolojen kustannuksissa, henkilöstön tyytyväisyytenä ja sitä kautta parempana sitoutumisena ja tuottavuutena. Puhumattakaan niistä hyödyistä joita tasapainoinen arki heijastaa perheenjäsenille, kanssaihmisille, koko yhteiskunnalle. Utopiaa? Toivottavasti ei. Tämän hetken akuutteja kysymyksiä onkin, miten vastuullisuuden ja luottamuksen perusta saadaan todeksi muuttuneessa työympäristössä ja muuallakin kuin perinteisen tyyppisissä työnantajaorganisaatioissa. Miten tuetaan niitä perhe-elämän ja hoivan tilanteita, joita ihmiset kohtaavat vaativilla ja epävarmoilla silppu- ja pätkätyömarkkinoilla? Miten turvataan perusturva ja läheisten hoitaminen silloin, kun omassa perheessä tai itselle tapahtuu jotakin? Löytyykö turvaa ja toimeentuloa elää hyvää elämää? Anna Kokko, Väestöliitto _______________ Anna Kokko toimii Väestöliitossa perhe- ja työelämäkysymysten erityisasiantuntijana ja perheystävällisen työkulttuurin puolestapuhujana. Hän on työskennellyt kehittämishankkeiden päällikkönä sekä monenlaisissa suunnittelu-, tutkimus -ja kehittämistehtävissä. Tällä hetkellä hän on mukana rakentamassa Suomeen uutta Perheystävällinen työpaikka -ohjelmaa yritysten ja organisaatioiden käyttöön. Kehittämistyö tapahtuu yhteistyössä erilaisten työpaikkojen, organisaatioiden ja yritysten kanssa.

In the WeAll project we explore factors that support and, on the other hand, restrict the opportunities of different people and diverse groups in working life. Demographic changes, regional differences, the reconciling of work and private life, as well as organisational and management practices, all affect these opportunities. We address how age, gender, class, ethnicity, sexuality, and location have an impact on working life. Our collaboration and dialogue with stakeholders promotes the co-production of knowledge on equalities and inequalities in working life, and on well-being at work.

News

European Business Ethics Network EBEN Annual Conference 14-16 June, 2017

The 2017 EBEN Annual Conference will take place June 14-16, at the University of Jyväskylä School of Business and Economics, JSBE (Finland), and it will be preceded by a one-day workshop for doctoral students on June 13.

The theme of the conference is “Searching for Sustainability in Future Working Life“.

The conference is organized in cooperation between the WeAll Research Consortium ‘Social and Economic Sustainability of Future Working Life: Policies, Equalities and Intersectionalities in Finland’ (funded by the programme Equality in Society, Strategic Funding of the Academy of Finland, n:o 292883), the University of Jyväskylä School of Business and Economics, the University of Tampere School of Management, and the Finnish Chapter of the European Business Ethics Network EBEN.

Read more.

News

Gender + sex = gex?

It is important to discuss scientific concept in a deeper level. In his presentation, on 16th March 2017 professor emeritus Jeff Hearn analysed concepts, such as, gender, organisation and diversity and demonstrated the complexity of these concepts. One example of this is the concept gender. There has been increased criticism towards the concept of gender, while simultaneously its use in and outside academia has been widely established. As one solution Hearn offered the concept gex that is an umbrella term than includes refers to different ways in which gender and sex may be related to each other, or not.

 

Jeff Hearn gave a presentation at Hanken in GODESS-institute’s seminar about the Institute’s history and its focus. GODESS Institute combines research on gender, organisations, diversity, intersectionality, equality, social sustainability and transnationalisation. In his presentation Hearn discussed different ways of approaching these concepts and the relations between them.

 

Call for Papers and Special Tracks for the European Business Ethics Network EBEN Annual Conference 2017 – co-organized by WeAllFinland

The organizers would like to welcome contributions for the European Business Ethics Network EBEN Annual Conference 2017 ‘Searching for Sustainability in Future Working Life’

June 14 –16, 2017

University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Web site

Much of the discussion around sustainability has focused only on the environmental aspect. In this conference we aim to extend the discussion to include other aspects of sustainability, especially in the context of future working life, its organizing, managing and leadership. Working life is facing significant social, technological, cultural, economic and environmental changes. We want to explore the meaning of these changes and their challenges to private and other organizations, their management and leadership.

We invite contributions from academics, policymakers and practitioners. We are interested in contributions on topics which are on the rise in changing working life. The range of possible topics includes, but is not limited to, the following themes from the perspective of working life:

Workforce diversity, intersectionality, inclusion and equality

24/7 demands, work-life/family integration, work wellbeing and quality of life

Development of human and social capital

Organizational change, renewal and culture

Labor and human rights concerns

Responsibility/ethics in leadership and HRM

Good governance

Human and social aspects of accounting

Social/organizational innovation and social enterprise

Ethical challenges of digitalization/social media

Stakeholder engagement and value creation

(E-)learning/teaching and business ethics

Climate change and other environmental challenges

Submissions:

The language of the conference is English.

Special track proposals, due to December 30st, 2016

Special track proposals should be about 1000 words long and should be submitted in a doc-format to pasi.sajasalo@jyu.fi and tommi.p.auvinen@jyu.fi

Abstracts or full papers for presentations, due on March 1st, 2017

Internet abstract and paper submission system is soon open. Please, follow the conference website.

Decisions on acceptance will be sent at latest by April 1st, 2017.

Pre-conference doctoral seminar

PhD candidates are invited to attend a one-day pre-conference doctoral seminar on Tuesday June 13, 2017. The aim of the workshop is to provide guidance and support for advancing the student’s doctoral dissertation and the presentation of her/his ideas. The workshop will consist of a joint programme for all the participants and individual mentoring discussions.

The conference is organized by

The WeAll Research Consortium ‘Social and Economic Sustainability of Future Working Life: Policies, Equalities and Intersectionalities in Finland’ (funded by the programme Equality in Society, Strategic Funding of the Academy of Finland, n:o 292883),

The University of Jyväskylä School of Business and Economics,

The University of Tampere School of Management, and

The Finnish Chapter of the European Business Ethics Network EBEN

Sincerely

Anna-Maija Lämsä

Professor

Conference chair

Johanna Kujala

Associate professor

Programme chair

For further information and electronic abstract system, please visit:

Website

News

Professor Ann Phoenix to deliver closing remarks at WeAll seminar this Thursday

Professor Ann Phoenix from the University of Helsinki will be delivering the closing words at the WeAll “Pressure as a Catalyst for Change?” seminar this Thursday at Hanken. The seminar will be held at the Hanken Festsalen from 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm and is open to the public. Leading up the seminar, we wanted to ask Professor Phoenix about her current research focus.

What is your current research focus in and how does it relate to the themes of the WeAll project?

My current research is on family lives, environment, transnational migration and masculinities in Finnish boys. All of these themes fit with the themes of WeAll in that all are concerned with equality and diversity as well as wellbeing. The Project on Family Lives and Environment that I am currently writing up is about getting more complex understandings of what environment means to members of families, with a view to developing really sustainable practices. It considered rural-urban commonalities and differences for affluent and economically poor families in India and the UK. The small-scale study of boys and masculinities aims to understand boys’ masculinities in a changing Finland where ethnic diversity is more foregrounded than previously.

In your opinion, why are the themes researched in the WeAll Project especially crucial in the context of the Finnish society today?

Issues of intersectional equalities and social justice are increasingly central to global agenda, where, in a post-Brexit world with Donald Trump as president elect of the US, parochialism, racism and sexism are being taken-for-granted By some as ordinary and acceptable. The serious attention paid By the WeAll Project to multiple, multilayered inequalities and their intersections is both admirable and crucial for ensuring that Finnish society addresses its increasing plurality in ways that enable all its citizens to thrive.

To see the full seminar program please visit here. We look forward to an engaging afternoon!

Professor Ann Phoenix

Screen Shot 2016-11-22 at 11.12.41