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Sanna Marin

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin Explained

Finnish Prime Minster Sanna Marin Explained

Now, if you follow Scandinavian news and news from Nordic  you would have known that last week, Sanna Marin age 34 became the Prime Minister of Finland.  How did that happen? That’s what I’m going to talk about here today, and also about the big picture political climate and feeling why there’s so much more women in politics and doing, amazing job in Scandinavia.

Background on Women’s Rights in Finland

Let’s go back to 1906 is when Finland was the Grand Duchy of Russia, and we were under the Russian rule. We had our own parliament, and the Finnish women got the right to vote in 1906 and the following year in the parliamentary election, 19 women who are selected to the parliament.

Finland has a history already where women are active. They are part of the political climate and the conversation as it is in other countries as well. But we have kind of come to take it as it’s our birthright. We don’t have to fight for it anymore. Men have come to accept and respect it. So we don’t have a kind of political competition you see in Australia, where you had your first for female Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

When people talk about her hair and her makeup, the lack of makeup or she hasn’t done her hair, or look at those clothing and it comes personal rather than business. There is lack of comments about the policies that she’s doing and the political decision she’s doing. So that’s it. That’s the difference there.

Prime Minster and President in Finland

What is happening today? So yes, we got the right to vote and get into parliament really early, like, really over 100 years ago. But then throughout the decades Finnish women have been really active. And our first elected femele president who doesn’t have power, as such, but who is more like a figurehead was elected year 2000 Tarja Halonen. She served two consecutive six year presidencies, and who was hugely popular amongst men and women in Finland.

At the same time when she was elected 2003, our first ever female prime minister was elected. So there’s already history and background there. And then today, what happened?  Few weeks ago now, the there was a postal strike in Finland and the negotiators with the post office, which is owned by the government. There was confusion or who said what, and what did the government know and so forth and the Minister in charge had to resign and the Prime Minster was pushed to resign as well.

Sanna Marin

Sanna Marin Elected as Prime Minister

It became apparent the coalition government was not supporting him. His deputy was Sanna Marin age of 34. And she was nominated as the candidate for the Prime Minister post and she was elected. Now, Sanna Marin is not just someone who just came out of the woodworks. She has a political background, and what I mean by that is that she was very active in her time in university and school she was very active.

Who is Sanna Marin from Finland?

She was always interested about social and economic affairs and how it affects people and how can you improve. Sanna Marin was first one in her family graduate and go to university. And she got an Masters on Administration from university of Tampere. She also has been in politics in the council level in Tampere where she lives long before she was elected to Parliament in 2015. So it’s not that she came from nowhere.

Now, she’s also a mother of a two year old Emma daughter. Her partner and and her have been together for a while. She is like you and me. She’s a mother with a child and she has a job and her job is happens to be the Prime Minister of Finland now.

But before that, she was a Minister in the government that Mr Antti Rinne was head of as the Prime Minister, before he was then dropped off. She was selected. But when you look at the other in the coalition government, there’s five parties making this coalition. All of those five coalition party leaders are women. They’re all sitting the parliament having a minister post. There are 13 women and seven male in the Finnish government as a minister, so the majority of women.

Finland has Female Strong Goverment and Parliament

The election, there was hold early held early earlier the year 93 of the 200 elected men members were women. That’s like nearly 50%. And all these coalition leaders are seasoned politicians. They’ve been there pushing gender equality they’ve been they’re pushing policies that they feel dear for their party and for themselves. So this is not a sudden change. And I think that’s what people think when they look at it and thinking like, Oh, that’s odd? Well, it’s not that odd.

When you speak to Finn in Finland, and I was looking at the conversation in social media and speaking to my friends in Finland, or what do you think about that? And they all like we’re so proud. We’re so proud that we have a female prime minister who can communicate us the way we can understand. And it’s a woman and we can relate to her, my friends said. She’s a mother, a working mother and we can relate to her.

People Can Relate to the new Prime Minister Sanna Marin 

Sanna Marin is a social democrat. Whether it’s greens background or whatever there’s it says she feels like she’s relatable person and she’s likable person. And she comes from the generation where you’re able to communicate yourself more and she is very savvy using social media. I must say that there is such a striking contrast with her speech and when she delivers speeches against the previous Prime Minister, Mr. Antti Rinne. Who was older male, and he perhaps didn’t have the charisma to deliver her message as effectively as Sanna Marin does.

Sanna Marin says in her first speech

“We want to bring education, equality and skills we want fill into be a country where every child can become anything and everyone can live old safely and happily.” Click To Tweet

Gender Equality

Now work equality is the key here and the education. Now, other thing that you might not have known that Sanna Marin comes from the rainbow family, and so she has two mothers. She has commented on the fact that she lived in the suburbs in Tampere, which is the third largest city in Finland. She has two mothers and people didn’t really, you know, make a fuss about it. But she said that she felt quiet about her family she felt that she couldn’t express her love and respect to us is to mothers who are raising her up because it was not the thing to do at the time.

She said she felt really loved and proud to be the daughter and very, she was always very straightforward and to the point and able to,  say back to people if there was any comments made about her family. In the Finnish political climate, there’s been very much positive and very complimentary commentary, comments about from overseas and in Finnish newspapers and magazines and articles about her. There has been not even one that I have seen saying, okay, she hasn’t done her hair or look at the dress that she’s wearing none of that. And I have to say, I’m really proud about that, because that would be deemed as unprofessional behaviour from the journalist to say something like that.

Men Are Supportive of Sanna Marin as Prime Minster

I’m sure there will be some comments or maybe more in the woman’s magazine, but there has been no articles about our look at what she’s wearing because that’s what Julia Gillard  had to go through here in Australia. Main stream journalist and newspapers were going after her looks rather her policies, and that hasn’t happened, but I hope that won’t happen either. I think we are a feminist country; I think we Finns are feminist because even the men, they are all saying this is great. Like the former prime minister Aleksandra Stubb said,

I rejoiced that the leaders of the five parties in government are female. Click To Tweet

and his party is in the opposition.

He sees that this as such a historical moment to see these women doing the same as men. This is not about gender. There is no gender bias conversation. This is about these women have a vision. These women are leaders and it doesn’t matter are there a man or a woman? They’re politicians. They’re just leaders of their own right.

Why Finland has Become Famous About Prime Minster Sanna Marin?

I think that’s what people find so difficult to accept and so difficult to understand. How could it be that in Finland, these women are running the country? Well, hello. It doesn’t matter if they’re woman and tell you what if the successor of Mr Antti Rinne would have been a male, if those five women, the leaders of the coalition party would have been a men they would have been not even one article in BBC , Independent, Time anywhere about this, because it would not have been a news would it? Because, hey, politicians on you know, men in politics, you know, like, you know, who cares about it?

But because it’s a woman, it’s comes as a surprise. I would like you to come away from this episode thinking that if it’s possible in Finland it is possible everywhere. I sit here in Australia and I’m looking at the Australian political conversation with sadness at sometimes. But I look at it that there’s these little glims of hope every now and then when you see a very strong female member in the parliament, the are saying really wise words and giving really hard time to politicians and asking questions and asking them to answer them and giving them accountability of their actions.

I would hope that that will lead on something in future but I think it might have to take a while. I don’t think it’s going to happen to the next general election, unfortunately. Same things goes to US. And same thing goes to UK as well. You have had strong leaders like Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May who was Prime Minister, but it’s just that maybe in UK its more balanced. And maybe my British listeners will be like, well, no is not that from where I’m sitting. It is more when I’m comparing to Australia.

I think the finished history where women and men are equal, there see more equal in workplace as well. There’s lots of policies in place, which support women returning to work, policies that other countries don’t have. And they think that you’re a socialist country because you are putting all these things in place. Well, no, we’re not. We are democratic country. We love our mothers to stay home and help the kids but there comes a time when they want to return to work and we have to make it as easy as possible for them because we want them to work to grow the country and contribute to the household and contribute building the country.

Finnish Laguage Has One Word to Desribe Gender ; Hän

My last thing, what I would say on this subject is that in Finnish language, there’s only one word describes he and she as hän. So even our language is about hän it’s about whether it’s a woman or a male. It’s about hän one word for he and she. So to get the job done it is not about gender. It’s about are you best qualified for the job, and in this case, Sanna Marin, got the baton, she was the best person to run Finland for the until the next general election in four years time.

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