A diverse, equal and non-discriminatory work community benefits everyone

In the City of Helsinki’s Culture and Leisure Division, the principles of diversity, equality and non-discrimination are an integral part of daily operations. These values are important in the work community from the perspective of staff, but taking them into account is also essential in the sector’s services. In daily work, all three are promoted through small and large actions all year round.
Elsa Heiko and Satu Pusa.
For Elsa Heiko and Satu Pusa, it’s important that the employer shares their values about the importance of promoting equality, diversity and non-discrimination. Photo: Smuel Stiller

– We must offer services where all Helsinki residents feel welcome, says Communications Manager Satu Pusa

The Helsinki City Strategy has aligned that Helsinki promotes non-discrimination and equality. In addition, equality and non-discrimination plans steer their implementation at city-run workplaces, sectors and organisations. 

In the Culture and Leisure Division, the plan is divided into two sections. One section discusses the equality and non-discrimination of staff, whereas the second section focuses on the implementation of these values in the services provided by the sector. In the Culture and Leisure Division’s work communities and services, these topics are regularly discussed. 

– Communications and marketing play a big part in creating the city’s image. They influence people’s opinions and thoughts, normalising different things, adds Marketing Planner Elsa Heiko

Stay alert and up-to-date

In the Culture and Leisure Division’s work community, the implementation of diversity, equality and non-discrimination can be seen concretely in the fact that everyone is allowed to be themselves at work. The topics are so important in the sector that they are already discussed at the job interview. Of course, many people for whom these are important issues gravitate towards the sector. 

– It benefits the work community when no one has to worry about whether they are accepted as representatives of a minority. These kinds of work communities also achieve better work results, and people like working in our division, Pusa says.

– By their nature, communications and marketing are such that we need to understand diversity and be interested in developing it. Of course, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t pay attention to it every day. We must remain alert at all times, because matters related to equality are always changing, Heiko points out.  

You must be alert, for example, as the vocabulary related to equality develops and transforms. As a result of the amendment of the Trans Act, services must be examined to make sure that they comply with new legislation. Helsinki residents also help the division to stay on top of the development by giving feedback. 

– We receive a lot of comments from young people about equality and diversity. They have commented, among other things, on how to take into account the needs of those with neuropsychiatric characteristics when designing website templates, Heiko says. 

Equality is promoted through words, deeds and spaces

In the City of Helsinki’s Culture and Leisure Division, diversity, equality and non-discrimination are promoted with concrete actions. Some of these are very small, some are significant and large. A major matter in promoting diversity in the work community is anonymous recruitment. Equal pay and pay transparency are another big issue that employers can use to ensure that equality is realised. 

Equality in the work community is also strengthened by gender-neutral job titles. They mean that no one is misgendered on the basis of their title. Spatial planning can also support equality. Toilets without gender signs are a great example of this.

In the Culture and Leisure services, it’s a given that different groups of people are taken into account as clients. Youth services, for example, carry out Roma youth work. Cultural Centre Caisa focuses entirely on producing diverse culture together with diverse people. 

– In the cultural services, we are currently reviewing our services from the perspective that we can provide content for all kinds of Helsinki residents. We are investigating, for example, if we produce concerts or exhibitions only for certain target groups, Pusa says.

Communications and marketing recognise that words and images play a major role.

– I strive not to conduct gendered marketing or communications. Particularly in large campaigns, messages must speak to everyone. Gender-free communications and marketing is easy to do when you think of the words you use, and it’s beneficial for us all, Heiko says.