Goal 10: Reduced inequalities
One of the most central goals of Helsinki’s city strategy is to reduce inequality between population groups but also between areas. The city’s social policy is based on humaneness and on the correct timing and perseverance of support measures. The objective is to support people’s wellbeing already ahead of the emergence of problems. Therefore, the city tries to reach those who are in need of assistance and support in time, particularly those people that need a lot of support and care. The city uses various sets of measures with the aim of achieving broad and systematic change, whereby exclusion, including hereditary exclusion stretching over several generations, and regional segregation are reduced in Helsinki. The creation of equal opportunities is a key part of the measures aiming at the reduction of inequality. Gender equality is a principle permeating all activities of the city.
The City of Helsinki has initiated several sets of measures with the aim to reduce inequality. These sets of measures include a broad range of support and service measures directed at diverse population groups. In parallel with these measures, the city makes an effort to create equal opportunities for participation and agency, e.g. by investing in the accessibility of culture and leisure services. Measures that advance health and wellbeing are part of this complex. There is also a strong social dimension as a backdrop to the measures. Altogether, they also have an impact on the relative development of areas. Moreover, the city uses urban planning and housing policy strongly to support the balanced development of residential areas. The support measures are channelled in particular into those areas that suffer from an accumulation of factors that presage the vulnerability of the area.
The City of Helsinki has taken other measures as well to advance a change that aims at reducing inequality. The city on its part takes responsibility for those in the weakest position, inter alia, by providing complementary income support that is a supplement to means-tested basic income support. It also grants preventive income support whose objective is to advance social security and autonomous capacity of the individuals and families that are affected by the support. It is also meant to prevent exclusion and long-time dependence on income support. In its capacity as employer, the City of Helsinki endeavours to treat its employees equally and to achieve equal pay. In addition, the city participates in the struggle against the black economy and strives through different means to influence legislation and various social conventions to make them evolve in a socially sustainable manner. The set also includes following up on the evolution of inequality and on strengthening the knowledge base regarding inequality.
Measures that aim at reducing inequality in Helsinki are above all directed at the city’s inhabitants and areas as well as at municipal employees and the operations of the municipality. At the same time, the city actively tries to influence the development of legislation and social conventions in unison with the UN goals. However, the city has in its own operations paid less attention to those UN goals that aim particularly at improving the situation of developing countries and their inhabitants (UN targets 10.6, 10.7, 10.A and 10.B) and at reducing the transaction costs of migrant remittances (UN target 10.C). However, concerning e.g. mobility and migration it should be noted that Helsinki invests substantially into the integration of those of its inhabitants who are of foreign origin and into creating opportunities that are on par with those of the original population.