At just 34 years old, Sanna Marin will head up a coalition Finnish government
Late Sunday, Finnish female politician Sanna Marin, 34, who is currently the Minister of Transport and Communications, was chosen by her party to be prime minister. She’s set to be sworn in this week, making her the youngest PM in the world.
Finland’s last PM, Antti Rinne, who is also part of the Social Democratic party, lasted under a year as Finland’s prime minister, and stepped down after he lost the confidence of the Centre party, a coalition party, over his handling of a postal strike in November.
Her candidacy was put forward by the Social Democrats, with other members of the ruling coalition agreeing to fast-track her nomination to ensure Finland is represented at an EU summit this coming Thursday.
While Finland certainly has a long way to go until it reaches true equality – racism and hate speech has risen since the (deeply unpopular) rise of the outgoing centre-right government – many are hoping Marin’s left-wing stance could mean the start of a new era for the Nordic country.
Here are five things you know know about Finland’s new PM.
SHE’S A SOCIAL DEMOCRAT
Before making it to PM, Marin went through a number of different roles. In 2014, she was elected as the second deputy chairperson of the Social Democratic Party, and later in 2015, she was elected to the Parliament of Finland. Though it was promised there would be no major policy changes, after winning Marin told reporters: “We have a lot of work to do to rebuild trust.”
SHE’S THE CHILD OF SAME-SEX PARENTS
Marin grew up in a rented apartment and was raised by both her mother and her mother’s female partner. She told Finnish magazine Menaiset that growing up, she felt “invisible” due to the fact she couldn’t talk openly about her family. “It was something that couldn’t be discussed.” Although she wants to continue fighting for equality, “for me, people have always been equal,” she said.
SHE’S IN A COALITION MADE UP OF WOMEN LEADERS
People were quick to point out that although gender equality is still an issue in Finland, Marin’s current coalition consists of all female leaders, with four out of five being under 35. Together, they will create a centre-left coalition. Though this was not always the case, in 2015, a male-dominated centre-right government came into power of which only 36 per cent of ministers were female.
SHE’S BIG ON INSTAGRAM
Marin has an Instagram account that she regularly updates, as most people of her gen tend to do – there’s some very normal, candid photos of her breastfeeding, enjoying a holiday, and at parties (avec baby bump). Drawing comparisons to AOC’s mastering of social media, Marin is an example of yet another politician who lives a relatively normal, pretty wholesome life online when she isn’t running a country.
SHE BELIEVES IN A 24 HOUR WORKING WEEK
Marin has spoken out to support the idea of a 24-hour working week. In August, she told the Helsinki Times: “Why couldn’t it be the next step? Is eight hours really the ultimate truth? I believe people deserve to spend more time with their families, loved ones, hobbies, and other aspects of life, such as culture.” Although her proposal was shut down by the political opposition, let’s watch this space.