Sex-Role Attitudes in Finland, 1966–19701


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    Financial support for this study was provided by Finnish Social Science Research Council and Suomen Kulttuurirahasto. The Finnish Gallup collected the material for 1970. I am indebted to the members of the Scandinavian sex-role research group, especially to Harriet Holter and Barbro Jansson, for the formulation of the attitude items.


Debate on the position of women and men in Scandinavian society reached Finland in 1965. Since then the roles of men and women have been actively discussed in the mass media, and a state committee report on the position of women was presented in 1970. Though Finnish women are internationally seen as emancipated there are still many practical problems with regard to the position of both women and men.

Attitudes concerning various aspects of sex-roles, surveyed in 1960 and 1970, have in general changed toward a more egalitarian viewpoint. However, half of the male respondents still think that household tasks should be left to women. Further, though it seems to be accepted that women should have an opportunity to occupy leading positions, a great majority of both men and women still state that they prefer jobs with male superiors. Personally held attitudes have thus remained more traditional than the more superficial ones. Popular movements like the current sex-role debate seem to have an effect on general public opinion, but deeper attitudes and actual behavior may be more difficult to change.