What reforms are important if we are to create an equal society? Åsa Forsell – who works with gender equality issues at TCO – highlights a reformed parental insurance as a central issue.
Åsa Forsell is an analyst in gender equality at TCO. She has a background in economics and has worked with social insurance and welfare issues in various contexts. Åsa has, among other things, worked with these issues at the Government Offices, in the investigative service, at a few different authorities and also at the LO headquarters. She joined TCO in 2011 and worked with welfare issues with a focus on health insurance. In 2016, she succeeded Ulrika Hagström as Head of Gender Equality at TCO.
What issues does she think are most important for gender equality: Reforms for increased economic equality and, above all, a reformed parental insurance are the focus of TCO’s advocacy work in the area of gender equality, Åsa replies.
Today, women take much more responsibility for children and family life than men and adapt their working lives to get the family’s life puzzle together, Åsa emphasizes. Women take longer parental leave and work part-time to a greater extent, which leads to lower incomes in both the short and long term. TCO therefore believes that political reforms are needed to correct the imbalance. Today, three months of paid parental leave are reserved for each parent for children with two guardians, while the other ten months can be divided in any way between the parents.
To address the inequality, TCO proposes a three-tier solution for parental benefit days: one third to each parent and one third to distribute freely:
- Our hope is that this will lead to increased gender equality, Åsa says.
As it stands now, men only take one-fifth of the parental benefit days that are taken during the child’s first two years. This is something that creates income differences between the sexes.
Increased economic equality is another proposal that TCO is pushing for by making the discrimination legislation semi-dispositive in the part that applies to active measures in workplaces. As it stands today, pay discrimination is already prohibited. Employers are obliged to carry out preventive and promotional work against discrimination. This shall include annual pay surveys to identify and address differences between women and men.
The third of TCO’s gender equality policy proposals are to increase measures to enable women to work throughout their lives in good health, even in female-dominated industries. Measures of this kind may include, for example, strengthening the rules on organizational and social work environment (OSA) and introducing sanctions for violations of these. It can also be about legislation on personal integrity and harassment in the workplace.
A further proposal is to give foreign women better conditions to establish themselves in the labour market. So, what does Åsa think about the potential of TAM-Arkiv when it comes to studying the history of gender equality?
- It’s nice! Åsa exclaims.
When she started as a gender equality manager at TCO, she checked TAM-Arkiv’s sources to get a description of the history of gender equality as it has been run by TCO.