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Equality in Europe and Finland

September 15th 2016

The Equinet Executive Board and Secretariat were invited to Helsinki on 7 September by our Finnish members, the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman and the Ombudsman for Equality, to meet with staff members and Finnish stakeholders to discuss the work of equality bodies and common challenges for equality in Europe.

After a warm welcome by Rainer Hiltunen on behalf of the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman, Evelyn Collins, Chair of Equinet and Chief Executive of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, gave a presentation about the political and legislative developments as regards equality in Europe. She also highlighted the challenges for European initiatives for equal treatment. Anne Gaspard, Executive Director of Equinet, followed that with a presentation about the role and work of Equinet. She also outlined the differnet mandates and functions of our members across Europe, and underlined the Network’s recent work on standards for equality bodies.

More details were given about the workings of their equality bodies by members of the Executive Board from Poland, Greece, Belgium and Austria. This was followed by an engaged discussion with the Finnish stakeholders and staff members, as well as the other Board members, on different approaches to tackling the challenges to equality within Europe.

The meeting was closed by the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman, Kirsi Pimiä, who looked forward to meeting these challenges together in the future.

After a great lunch and visit of the island of Suomenlinna, the staff of the Finnish equality bodies met with Board and Secretariat to discuss the operations and priorities of the two Finnish bodies and the work of Equinet. This was a great opportunity for everyone to get to know each other and outline in more details what they are working on, as well as strengthen thematic cooperation within Equinet as a network.


Presentation by Evelyn Collins
Presentation by Evelyn Collins
Presentation by Anne Gaspard
Presentation by Anne Gaspard

  (Click to enlarge picture)

For more photos, please see here.

Equinet Executive Board

The Equinet Executive Board is constituted of nine members who are senior level representatives of equality bodies (member organisations). Board members are elected for a mandate of two years (renewable twice) by the General Assembly. The members of the Board appoint a chairperson and a treasurer for the duration of the Board mandate. As appropriate, the Board can seek the advice of and appoint external expert/s as advisor/s to the Board.

The Board meets on a regular basis to guide and support the implementation by the Secretariat of the strategic plan and the annual work plans approved by the General Assembly of Members. The Board has a particular focus on the effective, appropriate and strategic use of the resources available to the network. It is responsible for managing and sustaining the appropriate and necessary relationships with key organisations and for contributing to the representation of Equinet with external stakeholders.

Equinet Executive Board at work  (Click to enlarge picture)