Answers to the candidate matcher of the Representative Council elections

Here you’ll find my answers to the candidate matcher of the Representative Council elections of the Student Union of the University of Helsinki!

1. The student movement should widely comment on issues concerning society.

Disagree – agree

Students don’t live in a bottle but are a part of the society. If the student movement does not acknowledge this, no one will. Let’s not marginalise ourselves!

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Green History made in Bolivia

The Global Greens spent a week in Bolivia to discuss and find answers to global problems as well as to consolidate the structure of the Global Greens, and I had the pleasure to be part of the delegation. The Global Greens Coordination, which consists of representatives from four regional Federations (Europe, Africa, Asia-Pacific and the Americas), was invited as guests to the assembly of the Federacion de los Partidos Verdes de las Americas (Federation of American Green Parties), which we attended after our internal meeting.

History was made twice during the week.

Continue reading “Green History made in Bolivia”

Wear orange!

Yesterday was the Orange Day, aiming to raise awareness about violence against women and girls, as is the 25th of each month.

The campaign is organised by the Secretary General of the United Nations and the UN Women. You’re supposed to wear orange each month on the 25th till next March, when a Committee meetings is organised to erase violence against women.

Gender based violence is a serious global problem. The situation is not improved by the fact that we’re falling behind in exactly those UN Millennium Development Goals which aim to raise the well-being of women. Finland is however no exception from the rule: below one percent of the sexual domestic violence is reported to the police and only one fifth of the rapes reported to the police are taken to the court.

Violence against women can be tackled on the municipal level as well. One of my election themes is equality, and as part of it, fighting gender based violence. The City of Helsinki can have an impact by maintaining and adding to the support services for women who have experienced violence: for example the operation of round-the-clock women’s shelters must be ensured.

If we want to promote equality, we need adequate planning and resources. The City of Helsinki Equality Committee should be provided wider competences and adequate preparation work by civil servants. The Equality Plan is to be renewed from the beginning of next year, and this gives an excellent chance to make the plan more comprehensive and to create a proper monitoring system for it. A part of the equality work is the Gender Impact Assessment, which should be made part of all decision making.

The City of Helsinki is a significant actor on many sectors and an employer of thousands. For these reasons it’s important for the City of Helsinki to declare itself a Discrimination Free Zone. Joining the Campaign is a statement for equality.

It’s important to talk about gender based violence and other equality issues. That’s why you should wear orange, too!

Oranssia ylle!

 

For a More Democratic Helsinki

 

One of my themes in the upcoming communal elections is democracy. What do I mean by it? The joint goals of the Helsinki Greens regarding democracy can be found from our platform for the municipal elections. In this post, I’ll open up my own objectives regarding democracy:

1. Municipal motions prepared by civil servants

I have a dream. I’d like to see the motions made by citizens of Helsinki to be prepared by civil servants. There’s a good idea behind many motions, but because the motion doesn’t fit the demanded formula, the City Council cannot decide over it. The civil servants could, together with the maker of the motion, work on the formula and ensure that the motion is fit to be decided upon. And, by the by, the motions must be dealt in the Council more often than once a year!

2. Open the Committees!

The Committees are the places where the compromises are made and proposals for the decision are made. That’s why it’s essential to have the Committee meetings open for everybody. Openness can mean for example streaming the meetings in the internet for the citizens to comment upon.

3. Open space is important

Open space doesn’t mean only free space to hang around. It’s essential for the activity and participation of the people. Without free space and the opportunity to occupy the parking lots and parks, courtyard flea markets and restaurant days would not be possible. Involvement, communality and making impact by doing do interest people. And when the citizens want to arrange something, then the city should support it, not prevent it. Open space makes the basis of a working democracy!

4. Information belongs to everyone

The municipalities produce a great deal of information, which however is not freely usable by the citizens of the municipality. In the meantime, the taxpayer money is thrown into huge lisence fees, although open source software would be completely free. Information about the preparation of decision making and decisions is so difficult to find that only the full-time politicians are able to use it. This all must change. I want the research information to be freely usable by all, I want open source software to be favoured, and I want info of the decision making and the preparation of it to be easily found from the internet.

5. Democratic decision making to all levels

The municipality should be the nearest decision making level to the citizen, but in a municipality the size of Helsinki, the City Council is actually quite far away from the people already. In addition to that, there are organs above the Council which decide about the trans-municipal services (public transportation, health services), but which are not elected by direct vote. That’s why we need local organs to decide about local services and a regional, democratic organ to be liable for the services for the whole Metropolitan area. This may be done either by putting the municipalities together or by other means, the most important thing is that it’s democratic!

The Feminists with a capital F

Wow. I had not really grasped the amount of feminist energy within the European Green Party gender network. Some quotes from the today’s meeting (disclaimer: they might not be 100 % accurate):

“I think we should definitely push for gender quotas.”
“I think all quotas are bad!”

“The problem is that women don’t want to apply for high positions.”

“The problems in Northern and Southern Europe are different, for example you don’t have gender pay gap.”
“We have gender pay gap.”

“What is the Femme Committee [the European Parliament Committee on Women’s rights and gender equality]?”

“What is 50+ quota?”

“We have the problem that there are more women than men in the party.”

Yeah. We’re the Feminists!