SUSANNA LEINONEN COMPANY INVESTS IN EQUALITY

To celebrate International Women’s Day on the 8yh March 2018 Susanna Leinonen Company wants to share about their current equality planning process. The plan is published in the spring 2018.

According to the 2015 Equality Act the employer has an obligation to assess how equality has been realized within the organization. If the employer has a staff of 30 people or over, the employer must create an Equality Plan, aiming to urge the organisation’s equality forward. Though Susanna Leinonen Company doesn’t currently employ over 30 people, the company has decided to create Equality Plan in order to secure a safe working environment, especially for the dancers. “As we work with different casts and with various partners around the world in a variety of environments, we want to make sure that the cast knows their rights and that they can trust us as an employer. Creating this plan is a privilege for us, not an obligation.” says Managing Director Salla Mistola.

The process examines, what kind of information on discrimination and sexual harassment is available in the field of professional dance, how discrimination and harassment has been noticed and who’s been the target of it. The process also focuses on the existing policies and their effectiveness. The current Dance Season project employs dancers on a steadier, full-time basis. Combined with Dance Season, Mistola sees more benefits in creating a voluntary Equality Plan for the company: “We wish to signal our partners and supporters that SLC is a responsible employer also when it comes to the matters of equality”.

Jonna Nummela, project coordinator for audience development, is responsible for creating Equality Plan for Susanna Leinonen Company. Currently doing her master’s in Gender Studies at University of Helsinki, creating Equality Plan is a welcomed challenge right down her alley. “Arts industry has a progressive and equal reputation and sure, in comparison to many male dominated industries the discussion around equality and discrimination takes place more often. However, this doesn’t mean we couldn’t do more. The industry is protected by this nice facade, behind which discriminating power structures still exist and only help certain people to thrive. All Male Panels, limited job and funding opportunities due to one’s gender expression and of course the deeply rooted sexual harassment highlighted by #metoo-campaign, which started amongst creative industries, are everyday occurences for the majority of people working in the arts”.

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