Image Source: Peekinpie
Sanna Marin, Finland’s 36-year-old female Prime Minister, leads a ruling coalition of five political parties headed by women who are practically all in their thirties or younger. It is a country dominated by women in terms of leadership.
This is the climax of a nationwide campaign for gender parity that began even before Finland’s independence in 1917 and has been ongoing ever since.
Finland, then a duchy of Russia, was the first nation to grant women full political rights, including voting and running for public office when it did so in 1906. A year later, the 19 women elected to the Finnish parliament became the world’s first female legislators, making them the world’s first female parliamentarians.
According to the United Nations Development Program, women now hold around half of the nation’s parliamentary and ministerial seats.
Indeed, Finland has plenty to be proud of on International Women’s Day, having come in second place in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report from last year, just behind sister Nordic country Iceland, according to the World Economic Forum.
Meanwhile, our own birth countries, the United States and Japan, were ranked No. 30 and No. 120, respectively, in the same research, out of a total of 156 countries.
After relocating with our then-eight-year-old son from New York City to the rural North Karelia area in 2015, we could get a first-hand look at Finland’s progress on gender equality. As a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Eastern Finland, William will teach graduate school and research the world-renowned Finnish childhood education system. At the same time, Naomi will travel to Finland to learn about Europe’s most forested nation’s food, culture, and natural environment.