E2 Research publishes review of Finns’ mental landscape: Fewer than one in two women feels society is fair


Fewer than one in two women (46%) in Finland considers Finnish society fair. The review, published by E2 Research, also shows that while high earners cope well in the midst of change, the socio-economically disadvantaged face difficulties. Nevertheless, a clear majority of Finns trust in society’s capacity to solve problems. A longing for a strong leader is part of the picture of the times.

These are the results of a new publication by E2 Research, How are we doing? A review of Finns’ mental landscape in 2023, which is based on a nationwide survey. E2 is a multidisciplinary, independent research institute. E2 Research publishes this review of Finns’ mental landscape annually.

Many women and low earners consider society unfair
Finns hold sharply different views on the fairness of society. Around half (52%) believe that society is fair to people like them, while under half (45%) hold the opposing view.

Of women, under half (46%) consider society fair to people like them, with half (50%) of women of the opposite opinion. Of men, 59% consider society fair to people like them.

Income is relevant to respondents’ perceptions of fairness: while 37% of people earning less than €1,600 per month consider society fair to people like them, among middle and high earners a clear majority hold that view. A majority of low qualified and unemployed people consider society unfair.

“Women’s experiences of unfairness may come from both their personal lives and societal pressures. In Finland, women bear the brunt of housework and childcare. Alongside that, women carry a large professional responsibility for healthcare and eldercare, which our review shows are big areas of concern for Finns. In addition to personal experiences, the public debate may reinforce women’s experiences of unfairness,” says Research Manager Ville Pitkänen of E2 Research.

Hundreds of thousands of Finns feel poorly equipped to cope
Around 70% believe they are well capable of conducting their main daily occupation. However, 19%, or over 800,000 Finns, consider their personal capabilities weak rather than good.

Socio-economic status affects these views: high earners give a significantly higher assessment of their capabilities than low earners.

“When hundreds of thousands of people feel that the capabilities at their disposal are weak, and they don’t use their potential, it raises a big societal and human question in an ageing Finland,” Ville Pitkänen says.

Concerns about higher living costs and decreasing welfare
The list of concerns held by Finns is topped by the rising living costs (68%), the state of the health service (64%), eldercare (60%), mental health problems (58%) and young people’s well-being (53%).

Everyday safety (49%) and the military threat from Russia (44%) also concern Finns. Low earners, in particular, are concerned by rising inequality. All age groups worry about climate change (44%).

“The majority of Finns are worried about decreasing welfare, the poor state of the health service, and eldercare. In Finland, we ought to think about how people will react if the public service crisis deepens further and new ways of doing things don’t solve problems. When society is already under pressure, broad public patience with changes may wear thin,” Director Karina Jutila of E2 Research says.

Finns trust society — but long for a leader
A clear majority of Finns (70%) trust in society’s capacity to solve problems. This confidence is stronger than average in older age groups and higher socio-economic groups.

Despite their trust in society, Finns yearn for a strong political leader. The overwhelming majority of Finns (80%) long for this kind of leadership.

“Finns also want business leaders to take a more active stance on social issues. Most Finns want to see them take part in the public debate more than they currently do. Some business leaders have taken a visible position on social issues, such as the climate crisis, young people’s problems and racism. However, the results show that there’s much more demand for business leaders’ opinions,” Director Mari K. Niemi of E2 Research says.

One in three Finns (33%) says the political debate makes them feel angry emotions. The under-45s are more likely than not to respond this way. Respondents’ employment situation and earnings level also matter: the unemployed (49%) and people on somewhat low or low incomes (46%) are more likely than not to respond that the political debate makes them feel angry.

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How are we doing? A review of Finns’ mental landscape in 2023 is published by E2 Research. The authors are Ville Pitkänen, Karina Jutila, Mari K. Niemi, Jenni Simonen, Juho Rahkonen, Mari Paljakka, Tuija Väyrynen and Roosa Veijola. Research Manager and docent Ville Pitkänen led the work. The review will be published on 31 October 2023 at 10.00.

The review is based on survey material. The survey was conducted in the first week of August 2023, and it was answered by 1,070 Finnish residents (a representative sample of the adult population of mainland Finland). In addition, the review drew on the material of a similar survey conducted between 4 and 11 April 2023, which attracted responses from 1,026 residents of Finland. The answers were provided via a Dynata online panel.

Watch the publication event live on Tuesday 31 October 2023 between 10.00 and 11.30: Link to live stream
Link to report: www.e2.fi/katsaus2023

Further information:

Survey material and analysis
Ville Pitkänen, Doctor of Social Sciences, docent, Research Manager
+358 40 7770 869

Karina Jutila, Director, Doctor of Social Sciences
+358 50 5515 361