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Ylva joins Helsinki Pride – because the city belongs to everybody

For the second year running, Ylva is supporting the Helsinki Pride event as a collaborative partner. We want to be building a city in which everyone can be themselves, boldly and proudly, without fear.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Helsinki Pride community. Even though equality work has progressed during these years, a lot still remains to be done. In the spirit of the anniversary year’s theme, Pride in Progress, people at Ylva wrote down their thoughts on the kind of Helsinki they want to be part of building.

“The Helsinki of tomorrow wishes everyone welcome and offers everyone space to be exactly as they are. It is important to us that our customers see the UniCafe restaurants as such safe spaces. We can do our part, for example, by putting together a menu on which everyone can find food that is tasty and suitable to them. We take pride in the fact that our employees represent as many as 39 different nationalities: we want them all to be able to proudly be their fabulous selves!”

Paula Korhonen, UniCafe’s Chief Operating Officer

“An equal world is not yet complete – also not in workplaces. According to a publication in April by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, equality in the working life needs to be improved especially in terms of pay differences, work conditions, career development and the terms and conditions of employment. Equality is a basic right. I hope that in the future, equality will be a cause for everyone and not only for those belonging to a minority or an underrepresented group in the workplace.”

Aino Pekkarinen, Culture and People Officer

“The Helsinki of tomorrow is equal and multicultural. The rights of gender and sexual minorities are still not at the same level as those of the majority population. To me, this is completely unjustifiable. It is great that some progress has been made: the 2017 amendment of the Marriage Act is a good example. Still, I remember thinking at the time that it is actually embarrassing that this is only happening now in Finland.”

Maija Ryynänen, Leasing Manager

“I have acted as a shop steward for the UniCafe restaurants for just over ten years. Even in this short amount of time, equality and work conditions have changed for the better. It is my dream to have us continue to improve even further. We are all equal, regardless of gender, age, origin, language, religion, belief, opinion, health status or any other personal trait. These are things I wish for everyone to keep in mind.”

Rebekka Jyränen-Partanen, UniCafe’s Chief Shop Steward & pantry chef

“Helsinki is us: the people who live, work, visit and meet each other here. Through deeds, we in Helsinki and at Ylva can show what an open city, an open work community, an open mind and an open attitude really mean. On a daily basis, instead of fancy words and empty phrases, we are building safe spaces to which everyone is just as warmly welcomed, regardless of their wealth, culture, family background and their own or their spouse’s gender. Tomorrow, my Helsinki will be curious and unafraid to meet diversity.”

Leea Tolvas, Chief Executive Officer

“The Helsinki of tomorrow, at the latest, must be free from discrimination! Helsinki is famously one of the best places to live in the world. Still, the Pride week makes you remember that there is still plenty of work to be done in this sanctuary of ours before equality between people can be achieved.”

Olli Olkkonen, Construction Manager

“In the Helsinki of tomorrow, everyone is standing up for human rights and working towards building a more equal city. Change does not happen of its own accord – it requires active participation from all citizens. A good starting point is to give space, listen and welcome other people with respect. In the long run, there need to be tangible acts and structural changes to make things happen. We must all work towards these on every day of the year!”

Jessika Isomeri, HYY’s Chair of the Board

“In the Helsinki of tomorrow, we all have the right to live as ourselves without fear of unfair treatment, bullying or being pushed aside. We are proud of who we are and take shared pride in how diverse and fair Helsinki is. Diversity is an inexhaustible treasure trove for creativity, new innovations and fresh perspectives. These things bring joy to all our everyday lives, sustainable competitiveness to businesses, and wellbeing to the entire society.”

Antti Ruuska, Chief Sustainability Officer

Ylva’s goal is to increase social sustainability in our own work community as well as in all our business operations. Our employees represent 39 different nationalities, and we are the only Finnish company to have joined the OECD’s Business 4 Inclusive Growth network in building a more responsible market economy. In our Lyyra project, we are developing solutions that can help reduce possible human rights violations occurring on building sites, as well as increase equality and the sense of pride over completed work.

The Helsinki Pride week is celebrated on 28 June–4 July 2021. Find all of the week’s events and take part in the virtual procession here:

More information:

Sanna Puutonen, Communications and Marketing Manager, +358 400 489 224