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Report: Finland 'wasting' unemployed immigrant women's potential

The rate of employment among immigrant women was just 41 percent in 2020, while the corresponding figure for Finnish women was 72 percent.

File photo. Image: Emmi Korhonen / Lehtikuva
Yle News

Women from non-EU countries continue to struggle to find employment in Finland, according to a fresh report by the European Migration Network (EMN) .

It noted that the employment rate among this demographic was just 41 percent in 2020. Meanwhile, the employment rate among Finnish women was 72 percent that year.

"The Finnish labour market includes various discriminatory structures, and even a high level of education does not necessarily guarantee success for migrant women when it comes to accessing working life," EMN stated in a press release, noting that low employment hampers immigrant women's integration into Finnish society.

The network said that the difficulty many of these women face in finding work include family and child care reasons, high language skills requirements, and an integration model that does not support early access to the labour market.

EMN added that a gendered labour market is also a factor, as the employment rate of immigrant women is considerably lower than that of immigrant men.

Yle News' weekly podcast All Points North recently reported that many immigrant women in Finland are turning to entrepreneurship as they cannot find employment. You can listen to the full podcast using the embedded player here, via Yle Areena, on Spotify or via the options found in this article.

Story continues after audio.

Wasted potential

In its report, EMN emphasised that the low employment rate among women from non-EU countries is a wasted opportunity for the Finnish economy, noting that there has been much discussion in Finland about the need to recruit more workers from abroad.

"However, there is already a large group in Finland whose potential should be tapped into for the benefit of the labour market," the report said.

Aside from the obvious economic benefits, getting more immigrant women into the workforce would have "significant social impact", said EMN's Senior Specialist Jutta Saastamoinen.

"Employment is a significant factor in successful integration and it has wide-ranging impacts on individual well-being. The low employment rate of migrant women will also have an impact on the next generation. The weak labour market position of mothers with a migrant background has a negative impact on the school performance and integration of their children," Saastamoinen said. 

EMN is hosting a national conference, entitled Diversity of migrant women – How to improve labour market integration of migrant women on Friday 25 November, which can be followed online (siirryt toiseen palveluun)

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