Centenary of women's full political rights in Finland

Centenary of women’s full political rights in Finland

The year 2006 is the 100th anniversary of universal and equal suffrage in Finland. The year 1906 represents an important milestone for women’s social and political participation. Finland was then the first country where women could fully exercise their voting rights and eligibility to stand for elective office. Altogether nineteen female MPs were elected to Parliament in 1907.

The web site Centenary of women’s full political rights presents events of the centenary year and background information. It deals with the history of the women’s suffrage in Finland and provides basic information on women’s political rights. It is hoped that the pages will serve the citizens interested in the issue, women’s NGOs, organisers of various events, schoolchildren and students, and the media. The web site is produced by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health together with the Christina Institute of the University of Helsinki. The establishment of the web site and links has been supported by, among others, women’s NGOs, universities, different ministries, and Statistics Finland.

The pages contain concise texts written by experts in ordinary language. They deal with the history of suffrage and topical themes related to gender, politics and nationality. The stock of articles will be supplemented in 2006 and 2007. Original articles on women’s political history, statistics on elections and information about research and literature on the theme are also provided on the web pages. The calendar of events (mostly in Finnish) covers festivals, seminars and exhibitions to be arranged in celebration of the centenary in 2006 and 2007.

The Committee for the Centenary of Women’s Full Political Rights hopes that particular attention will be paid to the achievement and exercise of women’s full political rights in the centenary year in both Finland and internationally. The political rights are citizens’ fundamental rights. It is important to highlight from time to time their importance and the history of how they were achieved, and the centenary year gives an excellent opportunity for that. Simultaneously, it is possible to look at topical issues related to the political rights. Various institutions, organisations and communities can also examine their own relation to the history of political rights and how to address current development needs.

Miina Sillanpää speaking in Parliament at the House of the Estates in 1907. Finnish Labour Archives.