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Promoting Gender Equality without a Gender Perspective: Problem Representations of Equal Pay in Finland


  • Milja Saari

Address for correspondence: Department of Political and Economic Studies, P.O. Box 54, 00014, University of Helsinki, Finland; e-mail:


The current locus of promoting equal pay in Finland is the workplace. Legal instruments, like gender equality planning and its pay surveys, are to be implemented in workplaces. This development raises important questions about the central role of the local trade union representatives as promoters of equal pay. This article analyses how local trade union representatives construct the problem of unequal pay and their role in narrowing the gender pay gap and their possible agonistic adversaries in negotiations on equal pay. Different problem representations concerning equal pay are analysed and evaluated on the basis of their potential to fracture the gender-blind wage bargaining culture and ability to cash in on the promises made towards narrowing the gender pay gap.