Minna Canth Day - An Unfinished Finnish Quest For Equality

 On March 20th, 2019, The United Nations again voted Finland as the happiest country on earth. This impressive title has been maintained thanks to Finland’s excellent healthcare system, high standards of education, an abundance of nature, and a great stranded of equality.

This impressive statistic was announced one day after Minna Canth Day, a day that honors equality and women’s role in society. Minna Canth is a Finnish national treasure and considered by many to be one of the best playwrights of all time. Rising to fame in the late 19th century, she was way ahead of her time. She was the first female Finnish speaking journalist, and the first woman to receive a “flag day” in Finland, though that title was gained in 2007, 110 years after her death.

An intellectual and women’s rights activist raised in humble beginnings, she wrote about real issues such as equality, marriage, family strife and the struggles of the working class.
 Her work and life changed society and the lives of many women, and as Finland has been voted as one of the best places in the world to be a woman, it’s safe to say that her work made an indelible stamp on the world. But with most complex topics, the project of creating a gender-equal society in Finland requires some more work.

Finland may lead the way with equality, but even this trailblazing country has some more paths to form. Here are some surprising facts about women in Finland.

 1. Women live longer than men 

This fact is not so surprising, as women live longer than their male counterparts in most countries. Leaving old fashioned jokes about men being nagged to death aside, the real reason is that men tend to take more risks and (I can say this because I have a penis and balls) and act stupid and reckless more often. Globally, men overtake women in almost every aspect of stupidity and decadence, with everything from eating a poor diet and missing exercise, to abusing drugs and alcohol. Slightly overtaking the life expectancy of much of the developed world, women in Finland can expect to live 84.2 years, while men live 78.7 years.

  2. Woman are not equal in employment.

 70.7 percent of men between 15-64 are employed in Finland, while just 68.5 percent of women of the same age have jobs. And these figures are not just disappointing when It comes to job seekers. The gap continues further up the ladder and is reflected by the statistic that only one in ten men in Finland reported working for a female supervisor. These figures do appear to be growing, but 65 percent sample that reported working for a woman, were women themselves. This suggests that attitudes regarding respecting women in the workplace need to change.

  3. Men still get paid more than women.

 In 2017, it was announced that for every one Euro earned by a man, women earn 84 cents. The “gender gap” is a global problem, but is surprisingly wide for a country praised for equality and fair play. Economists continue to debate the reasons for this problem, but the likely culprit is low self-esteem caused by inequality, more career breaks to raise children, and having to end the working day earlier to deal with school runs and related issues. Some economists have suggested that the gap is caused because men are more likely to compete for promotions and seek high-status roles, but when you consider that the majority of higher education students in Finland are female, and therefore likely candidates for higher-paid roles, the former reason for the gap may bare the most truth.

  4. Numbers too big to ignore. Finland has more women than men.

 There’s safety in numbers. Of the 5,513,000 people who live in Finland, 2,794,000 are women. And as the golden rule of democracy states, the majority always wins. Thanks to the high number of women in Finland, change may come thanks to the majority demanding that change. So, we can all feel very proud of our high-ranking position in the happiness and equality tables, but now is not a time to rest on our laurels. There’s still a lot more work to do!

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