Finland, the pioneer in gender equality

Gender equality is one of the issues that I focus the most on as a journalist. I think that gender equality is a human right and an important element in the society. It is also a precondition for advancing development and reducing poverty. I believe that empowered women could give a huge positive impact for a country.

Yet gender equality remains an unfulfilled promise in my country Indonesia. On the contrary, Finland was the first country in the world to give women full political rights. This is one of the many reasons why I admire Finland!

As an example, Finland reached the second place after Iceland in the Global Gender Gap Index 2014 by World Economic Forum, whereas Indonesia falls to 97th in the rankings. That is very depressing for us Indonesians!

There is no doubt that Indonesia’s patriarchal culture attaches to many families in Indonesia. There is a saying in Indonesia that women’s places are only at dapur (kitchen), sumur (well), and kasur (bed). When a poor family has to choose one of their children to go to school, they tend to choose their son rather than their daughter.

The low education of women has an impact on the female representation in Indonesia’s parliament. Although there is an affirmative action policy requiring 30 percent women’s representation in parliament, the truth is that even today the number of elected women legislators never reaches the quota. Furthermore, the number of women in parliament has actually decreased, from 18,2 percent in 2009 to 17,3 percent in 2014.

Yohannie Linggasari
Yohannie Linggasari

This is why I got very interested when thisisFINLAND Foreign Correspondents’ Programme opened the opportunity for Indonesian journalists to apply for the programme. It is a great honor for me to be Indonesia’s participant and I believe this trip will be very memorable!

I want to see Finland, the pioneer in gender equality. I hope to meet policy makers and gender activists who were involved in the advancement of gender equality in Finland.

I understand that in Finland gender equality is nothing new. So, I wonder, what’s next? What else could be improved in terms of gender equality in a country that ranked second in the Global Gender Gap Index?

ThisisFINLAND Foreign Correspondents’ Programme will be a valuable opportunity for me to learn about Finland and share my knowledge to all my friends in Indonesia, especially to all my fellow journalists who have contributed to educate people and open people’s minds.

Okay, enough for being so serious! Moreover, of course, I want to explore the natural beauty of Finland! I hope to visit national parks, museums and art centers and I can’t wait to make friends with Finnish people and experience “the original Finnish sauna”.

Last but not the least, I’m really looking forward to meet with the 21 other cool journalists! I’m sure that I can learn a lot from them. As I just started my career as a journalist and I’m aware that I still need more experience to be a great one. This is a very great opportunity for me to learn more. Kiitos!

Author: Yohannie - Indonesia

Yohannie Linggasari works at CNN Indonesia, where she focuses on human rights, education and topics related to gender. “Finland is one of the countries I admire for gender equality: it became the first country in the world to give women full political rights.”

4 thoughts on “Finland, the pioneer in gender equality”

    1. First of all, congrats for you for the opportunity given by Finnish Government to discover Finland for next three coming weeks. You will be excited, for sure as I did two times went to this lovely country. I suggest you also to learn about environment/forestry as this is also somethings that Finland leading within EU countries. Good luck with your trips, tervetuloa !

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