What’s it like to be young, female and Prime Minister?
“It’s a tough job. It’s something you cannot prepare for.”
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin made headlines in 2019
when – at 34 years old – she became world’s youngest-serving head of government.
At the time all five party leaders in her center-left coalition government were female.
“I think it’s very important that we have people from many genders, many generations, many backgrounds in powerful positions making decisions together. I think it’s the only way to make sure that the decisions are good ones.”
So who is she?
Marin had a swift rise in Finnish politics
becoming head of the city council of her industrial hometown of Tampere at the age of 27.
She said there is no trick to her success – just hard work.
With 540,000 followers on Instagram
Marin says she wants to bring a human side to high-level politics
to show other young people age is not a factor.
But her high-profile role as a young and female leader has made her a target for hate speech.
“…… the hate speech that we are facing are often sexualized, it actually focuses on that you are a woman, so of course it matters and we can see that about the speech that we are facing on the social media on the internet. But as I said, I try to ignore it and not to affect me and my decisions. But I worry about so many others and this is why we have to make sure that we are not tolerating this kind of behavior.”
A report by the NATO Strategic Communications Centre last year found
that female Finnish politicians are subject to gendered abuse on Twitter,
much of which came from clusters of right-wing accounts and did not seem highly coordinated.
Some opponents have attacked her for appearing on fashion magazine covers
and for being spotted out with celebrities in Helsinki.
‘’Well, I try to ignore it. I don’t focus on the hate speech myself, but as a country I think it’s very important that we will fight together against hate speech, that we make sure that everyone has the possibility to make a difference, to influence the society and to participate in the decision-making processes.
To take her mind off work, Marin says she enjoys running, walking…and cleaning.
“I think all physical things we can do also helps the stress and it actually relaxes our mind, so at least for me it’s really important that I have the possibilities to step away from the work and do something totally different.