Finland leads the way….

It was the first country to extend the franchise to women with complete parity with men (some states in America had extended then rescinded the franchise and Tasmania (1903) and South Australia (1902) extended suffrage with exceptions such as aboriginal women). Now Finland is the first country to have a female majority Cabinet with 12 of the 20 Cabinet positions.

Women will be in charge of the portfolios of agriculture, transport, health, environment, interior, education, justice, labour, European affairs and immigration, municipal affairs, social services and telecommunications. Mercopress

President Tarja Halonen (also a woman) announced the Cabinet yesterday saying

“The majority of the cabinet members are women. It’s a first in the history of our country.” Mercopress

Briefly Finland had both a female President and female Prime Minister until Anneli Jaeaetteenmaeki was forced to resign over electoral malpractice. However Finland is now among the top three countries with regard to femal representation in parliament.

With 84 women among the 200 MPs, or 42%, Finland places third behind Rwanda with 48.8% and Sweden with 47.3%. Mercopress

The United Kingdom, on the same measures, comes in at number 54 (joint with the Dominican Republic) with 19.7%, neighboured by Trinidad and Tobago (19.4%) and Slovakia (20%). The UK comes behind Korea (52nd, 20.1%), China (51st, 20.3%), Ethopia (45th, 21.9%), Eritrea (44th, 22%), Lesotho (37th, 23.5%), Iraq (28th, 25.5%), Burundi (16th, 30.5%) and Mozambique (10th, 34.8%). Figures from Inter-Parliamentary Union