“One of the first steps to successful leadership is to always forget your age and remember your dream regularly” – Israelmore Ayivor
Are you of the opinion that there should be an age limit to a democratic nation’s leader? If you do, you’d most certainly like to see a younger breed of politicians lead a nation. And Finland is proving to be that picture-perfect example led by their lady Prime Minister. Sanna Mirella Marin born November 16, 1985, an active left-leaning member of the Social Democratic Party became the third female Prime Minister of Finland on December 10, 2019. She is the World’s Youngest Prime Minister in 2019. Sanna Marin Prime Minister of Finland was voted after their PM Antti Rinne resigned over criticism about the way he handled the postal workers’ strike. After defeating the popular Finns Party, the prime minister, Sanna Marin changed every political rule in the book by bringing in young female leaders to govern Finland.
Sanna Mirella Marin was born in Finland’s capital Helsinki. Her father Lauri Marin an alcoholic left the family after which she was brought up by two mothers in a ‘rainbow family’. After moving around, the family settled in the southern city of Tampere. She graduated from Prikkala High School in 2004 and went on to study Administrative Sciences at the University of Tampere. During the same time, she also worked as a cashier in a bakery.
In a 2017 interview with a Finnish website she openly talked about being brought up in an LGBTQ+ household. She said, “The silence was the hardest. Invisibility caused a feeling of incompetence. We were not recognized as a true family or equal to others. But I wasn’t much bullied. Even when I was little, I was very candid and stubborn. I wouldn’t have taken anything easy.”
Sanna Marin and her 16 years date the former Finnish soccer player, Markus Raikkonen eventually married on Saturday August 1, 2020. They took their vows amid the pandemic in an intimate ceremony before 40 invitees at the prime minister’s official residence, Kesäranta. On the following day, Sanna Marin announced the nuptials in an Instagram post.
Marin and Markus have a daughter Emma Amalia Marin born in January 2018. Throughout the pregnancy, Marin remained active on social media sharing her pictures of the baby bump and that of her breastfeeding her daughter which globally even today remains a taboo.
Marin joined the Social Democratic Youth in 2006 and was its first Vice President from 2010 to 2012. In 2012 she made her first formal foray onto Finnish politics when she got elected to the local council in the southern city of Tampere which has a population of around 230,000 people.
From 2013 to 2017 she served as the Chairperson of the City Council gaining popularity through YouTube videos showing her leading extremely heated meetings.
Her journey includes,
- 2014 elected second deputy chairperson of the Social Democratic Party.
- 2015 elected to the Finnish Parliament as an MP from the electoral district of Pirkanmaa.
- 2017 re-elected to the City Council.
- 2019 became the Minister of Transport and Communications (June 6 to December 10, 2019).
- 2019 on December 8th, Marin became the youngest and third lady Prime Minister of Finland.
Sanna Marin, the PM with a cause
After the swearing-in ceremony when Prime Minister, Sanna Marin was questioned by a reporter on her global interest she firmly stated her focus was governing Finland. In her words, “My thoughts have been in the proceedings and I have not followed the international and national media coverage. We have promised change. Now we need action. I believe that trust will return through action.”
While she leads the country she is backed by her governing coalition of five parties — all of which have female leaders, and almost all under the age of 35. Twelve out of the nineteen Finnish cabinet members were women, putting the government of Finland in the second-highest percentage of female ministers in the world, after Spain. Sanna Marin is the third female premier of the government in Finland, after Anneli Jäätteenmäki and Mari Kiviniemi.
Marin’s political career was described by the BBC as beginning at the age of 20, becoming an MP by 30, and a Prime Minister at 34.
Finland – a small country, a big teacher
Finland neither discriminates on gender identity basis nor sexual orientation. Today the country is ranked as the fourth-best, in terms of having laws of protection for the LGBTQ+ community. With Marin at the helm, whom herself was brought up in a low-income family with same-sex parents (two mothers), she understands the need to let people grow in any adversity. She is also known for other progressive ideas which include combating climate change, providing quality health care, supporting increasing refugee intakes, raising taxes to support the welfare state, and connecting with the youth. The iconic Prime Minister Sanna Marin of Finland, today heads the most progressive country in the world.
“Finland will not be finished in four years, but it can get better. That’s what we’re working on. I want to build a society where every child can become anything and every person can live and grow in dignity.” – The world’s youngest serving Prime Minister Sanna Marin said.