Thinking Citizen Blog — Young Leaders of the World (Part V): Sanna Marin (b. 1985): Prime Minister of Finland
Thinking Citizen Blog — Sunday is Political Process, Campaign Strategy, and Candidate Selection Day
Today’s Topic: Young Leaders of the World (Part V): Sanna Marin (1985 — ) Prime Minister of Finland (2019 — )
She took office at age 34! Of course it’s worth remembering that Jesus Christ, Alexander the Great, Franz Schubert, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin never made it to 34! Marin, a member of the Social Democratic Party is the third female prime minister of Finland — after Anneli Jaatteenmaki (2003) and Mari Kiviniemi (2010–2011). A majority of her cabinet are women: 12 of 19. Her most urgent problem now is what to do about Russia. Should Finland join NATO? Today, a few more notes. Experts please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
THE RUSSIAN CHALLENGE — Should Finland join NATO? What would you do?
1.“In 2022, Marin made positive comments about the prospect of Finland joining NATO. This action caused a negative reaction from the Russian media, with some outlets reporting that “Moscow was stabbed in the back.”
2. “It is also now clear that the debate on NATO membership in Finland will change,” while noting that a Finnish application to NATO would require widespread political and public support.”
3. “On 25 February, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson threatened Finland and Sweden with “military and political consequences” if they attempted to join NATO, which neither were actively seeking.”
NB: “Both countries had attended an emergency NATO summit as members of NATO’s Partnership for Peace,” and both had condemned the invasion and had provided assistance to Ukraine.”
THE SCANDINAVIAN CONTEXT — WOMEN ARE A MAJOR FORCE
1. When Marin formed a coalition government in 2019, she was one of five female leaders of five separate parties. The others were “ Li Anderson, 32 (the Left Alliance), Maria Ohisalo, 34 (Green League), Katri Kulmuni, 32 (Centre Party), Anna-Maja Henriksson, 55, (Swedish People’s party).
2. “Women have been present in politics in the Nordic region for decades and today represent half of the party leaders in Sweden. Four of Denmark’s nine parties are headed by women. Mette Frederiksen became Denmark’s prime minister in June, while Erna Solberg has been Norway’s head of government since 2013. Iceland’s Vigdís Finnbogadóttir was the first woman to be democratically elected as head of state by voters when she defeated three men for the presidency in 1980.”
3. One of the early Finnish pioneers of women’s rights was Miina Sillanpää, a former child laborer and maid who was elected to parliament in 1907 and served there for 38 years. She became the nation’s first female cabinet member in 1926, and led the national association of servants and household workers for 50 years. Sillanpää helped start an organization of shelters for single women and their children and fought to improve the lives of the elderly and disadvantaged.” (last link below)
BACKGROUND: FAMILY, EDUCATION, DAUGHTER, HUSBAND
1. From a “rainbow family” — after her biological parents separated she was adopted by a lesbian couple.
2. She was the first person in her family to attend university, graduating from the University of Tampere (the third largest city in Finland) with a degree in Administrative Science.
3. Her daughter, Emma, was born before the Prime Minister married her husband, Markus Reikkonnen, in her official residence. Sanna and Markus, a former soccer player, had been together 16 years when they wed. For context, 58% of firstborn children in Finland are born out of wedlock, up from 38% in 1990.
NB: A member of the Finnish Parliament since 2015, Minister of Transport (2019), chairperson of the City Council of Tampere from 2013–2017.
FOOTNOTE — background on Finland (map plus a brief history). Note the proximity of Helsinki to Stockholm and St. Petersburg
1. “For 700 years we were a part of our western neighbor (Sweden). Then the king of Sweden started a war against Russia and he lost it. Then we were 100 years a part of Russia — luckily as an autonomous part. Now our independence has lasted a little more than 100 years…In that time…we have had one civil war and two wars and many difficulties.” (Tarja Halonen, first female President of Finland, 2000–2012.”
2. “We have learned to be very independent and stubborn and hardworking. Perhaps somehow it has been easier for us to realize that you need both men and women for a society to function at 100%. Here in the North (of the globe) we have a long tradition of strong women in society. The women have to be strong in order to survive and in order to help their families and their fellow citizens.” (Halonen, last link below)
3. The Finnish word for Finland sounds nothing like it. It is “Suomi.”
NB: The greatest Finnish contribution to world culture, to me, is “Finlandia” by Sibelius. The greatest corporation in Finnish history is Nokia which, once a forest products company morphed into the world’s leading cell phone vendor between 1998 and 2008.
For the last four years of posts organized by theme:
Two special attachments below:
#2 “39 Songs, Prayers, and Poems: the Keys to the Hearts of Seven Billion People” — Adams House Senior Common Room Presentation, 11/17/20
Billion People” — Adams House Senior Common Room Presentation, 11/17/20
Please share the coolest thing you learned in the last week related to political process or campaign strategy or 2020 candidate selection or anything else for that matter.
This is your chance to make some one else’s day or change their thinking. Or to consolidate in your own memory something worth remembering that might otherwise be lost. Or to clarify or deepen your own understanding of something dear to your heart. Continuity is key to depth of thought.