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INTRODUCTION

Equality between women and men has been discussed widely and diversely in AYY. The discussion was initiated in April after a blog post ( http://aarikanlotta.fi/miten-otaniemi-teki-ihmisesta-feministin/ ), which addressed the equality of women in Otaniemi.

In the last spring meeting of the Representative Council, AYY Board was obliged to clarify how equality is implemented in AYY and its associations. The entire resolution was worded as follows: 

By approving this resolution, the Representative Council obliges the Board to clarify to the Representative Council how...

• AYY financially supports associations that have discriminatory structures (rental of facilities, operating grants)

• AYY's own regulations take into account the equal treatment of all

• AYY's Central Office and the Board bring up discriminating clubs in their own activities (presents basement facilities for guests, etc.)

On the one hand, the purpose of this clarification is to provide information on structures that enable discrimination and are supported by AYY. On the other hand, the purpose is to clarify the means by which AYY could show that it does not tolerate discrimination in Aalto community. 

Based on the clarification, the Representative Council may have a discussion in the autumn on possible measures to dismantle the support of discriminatory structures."

SURVEY AND THE SPECIFYING OF THE REPORT 

AYY Board stated that a much more extensive analysis is required in order to identify all discriminatory structures, which could not be conducted with the currently available resources. For this reason, the Board decided to focus only on gender-based discrimination, which was assumingly the most important issue when the resolution was prepared. Due to this specification, the report only concerned AYY's associations in the 2 nd list, which have rented club rooms or storage space from AYY. The report did not concern associations in the 1 st list since equality between women and men should be implemented in accordance with the requirements of the association regulation. With the exception of associations in the second register which have rented facilities, AYY mainly provides advisory and support services for the associations. However, AYY Board considers that the implementation of a more comprehensive report is advisable and therefore suggests that a more comprehensive equality report is included in the plan of action for the year of 2016.

The Board decided to clarify gender-based discriminatory structures with a brief and simple survey which included the following questions:

  • According to your association rules, can a representative of any gender
    a) become a member of the association
    b) participate in association activities
  • What is the ratio of women and men in your association?
  • Your association has rented a club room from AYY. How is equality between women and men implemented in the facility and its management?  
  • Do all your members have an equal opportunity to participate in association activities? If you find room for improvement here, how will you ensure that the implementation of equality will be improved in your association?              

The survey was sent to 11 associations, of which 9 responded to all the questions and 2 responded to some extent. Below are the associations which received the survey and the summary of the responses: 

 

Association

Facilities

Jämerän naiset

Storage space 4 m2

Jämerän toiminnan kilta

Club room 76.5 m2

Kokoomusteekkarit

Club room 10.3 m2

Kulttuurijaosto KUJ

Club room 38 m2

Nordiska Ekonomie Studerandes Union-KY

Storage space 4 m2, club room 28 m2

Ota-Karjut

Storage space  4 m2

Retuperän WBK

Club room 34 m2, storage space  16 m2, storage space 7 m2

Suomen ÄPY-lehtien liitto

Club room 52 m2, storage spaces  6 m2, 16.5 m2, 20 m2, 1 m2

Teekkarikulttuurin Tuki

Club room 68 m2, storage space  15 m2, storage space  2 m2

Vapaateekkarit

Club room 37 m2

W-klubi

Club room 22.5 m2

 

According to your association rules, can a representative of any gender become a member of your association or participate in association activities?

One association excluded the participation of men from activities according to their rules. In other associations, rules did not limit the membership or participation in activities based on gender.

What is the ratio between women and men in your association?

All the associations did not respond to this question (Vapaateekkarit and Teekkarikulttuurin Tuki). For the associations that replied, the result was:

Your association has rented a club room from AYY. How is equality between women and men implemented in the facility and its management?

Associations emphasised that gender is not relevant in the use of facility, and activities in the facility are equal to all members regardless of their gender.

Do all your members have an equal opportunity to participate in association activities? If you find room for improvement here, how will you ensure that the implementation of equality will be improved in your association? 

All the associations did not respond to this question (Vapaateekkarit and Teekkarikulttuurin Tuki). According to the responses, the majority of those who responded had no problems with equality issues. However, some responses suggested that some associations need to work more in order to achieve equal activities. The associations also had the intention to continue this work. 

 

SUMMARY AND RESPONSE TO THE RESOLUTION

AYY seems to have some associations where activities are strongly gendered. For most parts, activities are not limited by association rules and therefore there are no obstacles to change the activities for that part. Associations should also comply with their rules and also aim to take equal treatment into account in the recruitment of members. However, the results and responses of the survey do not directly reveal how discrimination may occur. Clarification was also complicated by the fact that all associations did not reply to the survey.

AYY's support for these associations is limited to the rental of facilities. Club rooms are rented for €3/m2 and storage space for €1.75/m2, which should cover AYY's expenses. 

AYY has various visitors mainly from student unions in other municipalities. Often the club rooms are presented to the guests and some of these club rooms belong to associations that responded to the survey. The activities of several associations, which are visited, are visible in Aalto community. Some of the associations that participated in the survey also cooperate with AYY's event sector.

AYY Board has requested the chairperson of the Representative Council to interpret how our student union regulations take equal treatment into account. The chairperson of the Representative Council has interpreted the matter as follows:

In Section 3 of the Administrative and Economic Regulation, the principles of good administration determine principle of equality as one of the principles of good administration followed by the student union.

This is the only section in the regulations, which directly refers to the equal treatment of members. The resolution generally brings up the associations within the student union. Therefore, we should examine the Association Regulation more extensively. 

According to Section 1 General information of the Association Regulation:

An association, which connects AYY's students and which purpose and practices comply with               the provisions of the law and good manners, may be accepted to AYY's association register.

Based on this section, an association's application for the student union's association register may only be declined if the association's purpose and practices do not comply with the provisions of the law and good manners or if the association is not linked to the student union by connecting the students of the student union.

In accordance with Section 8 of the regulation:

Section 8 Obligations of associations in the first list

An association where at least 60 per cent of the voting members, but at least seven               members, are AYY's members, may be approved to the first list. Association rules may not               restrict a student union member's opportunity to join as a full member of the association.               This paragraph shall not apply to choirs or orchestras. With the decision of the               Representative Council, this paragraph may also be waived in case of other associations.

Thus, associations in the first list may not restrict a student union member's opportunity to join as a member, excluding choirs, orchestras and exceptions made by the Representative Council.

In accordance with Section 10 of the regulation:

Section 10 Obligations of associations in the second list

An association may be approved to the second list if its activities are student activities and if               the association has student union members.

The association notice must include the information that student union members still operate in the association.    

In practice, the definition for the second list is similar to the specification of Section 1 of the regulation. The specification is only opened in more detail for the part "connects AYY's students." Thus, according to the Student Union's Constitution, each association which purpose and practices comply with the provisions of the law and good manners and connects AYY's students with student activities and includes members of the student union, must be approved to the student union's second list.

In Finland, the Associations Act states the following:

As a summary of the Act on Equality between Women and Men, it can be stated that association rules must have specific provisions on the matter if the association wants to prevent women or men from becoming  members of an association.

Source: The Ombudsman for Equality