Sanna Marin is to become the worlds youngest prime minister at the age of 34. She will also be leading a center left coalition with four other parties, where the other parties are also headed by woman similar to her age. Sanna Marin taking this position as Prime minister of Finland is to happen directly because Anti Rinne, the previous prime minister, has stepped down from his position. Sanna’s background also speaks to the growth of gender equality through the world in the past decades as she grew up in a household where she was raised by her mother and her female partner. She described her family life as “feeling invisible because she was unable to talk openly about her family”. She was also the first member form her family to go to university and receive an education which allowed her to get to the position which she is in now. There are many themes which emerge from this story, which relate to world-wide gender politics as well as politics in Finland.
Women in Prominent Roles within the Government.
With Sanna Marin coming into office as the Prime Minister for Finland, she will be just the third Female prime minster in the country, which by global standards is very impressive. Considering the others countries around the world with parliamentary systems, Finlands system is way more gender inclusive than others of the same nature. Finland is sometimes highlighted as being the “pioneer for gender equality in politics” for having the first parliament to accept full gender equality for voting as well as election. But even Finland is having difficulty today with equal gender representation with women as of recent years as other countries with similar systems and regional proximity. Nordic countries can be seen as an example for other democratic countries to follow with gender representation. The UK and Finland have shown that cultural barriers for woman having higher roles in the political sphere can be done effectively.
MP’s receiving abuse
Statistics shows that woman who are members of parliament spent an average of half the time in their position compared to that of Male MP’s. In October, women who were members of parliament in the United Kingdom came out and said that abuse within the workforce has driven them away form politics. “Death and rape threats are a daily occurrence for women MP’s” as Rachael Reeves has stated. Abuse doesn’t just stop there for just the politician as it goes deeper into the MP’s family and loved ones. The abuse which these women of parliament are facing are forcing women to step down. Getting to the position of MP’s or even Prime Minister shows that women are going through these personal attacks to get to that position, and is making it hard for woman to stay in those positions for a long time. This happens mainly because in the changing political science with women assimilating more roles and higher tier positions, people within the country and government feel as though it would affect policy making in the country which is simply not true.
Women are increasing in representation around the World in politics, but have yet to scratch the surface on the potential which they can achieve. There are only 10/152 acting as the head of the state, 55/279 speakers of parliament, and 180/639 are MPs. Looking at the case of Finland, they have broke the barrier of putting women in prominent roles within the government but this has to change globally for an effect to happen. This starts with recruitment of women for political positions, which is especially hard to do as seen in the case of the UK where harassment because of gender is taking place and is making women retreat from these higher political positions. Next, women need to be elected by their parties and then need to women need to become victorious in big elections. With countries beginning to liberalize more often, there are steps that can be made to ensure gender equality increases globally. Institutionally, gender quotas can be implemented in countries where there is a substantial gap between male/female representation in politics. Culturally it varies from country to country depending on how women fit into that culture. Inclusivity is a main theme throughout these countries to help women feel inclusive in the political scene. In some countries around the world, laws are preventing women from being allowed to obtain certain political jobs, therefore the foundation for change has to start with changing laws. As we see with Sanna Marin, she was able to get an education which put her in the position to obtain her position, but for many woman across the globe those educational opportunities are not there.
“Finland’s Parliament: Pioneer of Gender Equality.” ThisisFINLAND, 7 June 2019, finland.fi/life-society/finlands-parliament-pioneer-of-gender-equality/.
“Finnish Minister Sanna Marin, 34, to Become World’s Youngest PM.” BBC News, BBC, 9 Dec. 2019, www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-50709422.
Scott, Jennifer. “Women MPs Say Abuse Forcing Them from Politics.” BBC News, BBC, 31 Oct. 2019, www.bbc.com/news/election-2019-50246969.