Finland made history on Tuesday when 12 of its 20 cabinet positions went to women, making Finland the world’s first female-dominated government. Upon announcing the appointments, Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen said that he wanted his government to respect “gender equality,” reports the Associated Press.
Reuters reports that although women now rule in numbers, the most senior positions of prime minister, finance, foreign affairs and defense remain in the hands of men. Tuija Brax was the only woman chosen for one of the senior cabinet positions; she will head the Justice Ministry.
Finland has been known as an advocate for women for the past 100 years, being the first country to allow women to vote and run for office, reports Merco Press. Since 2000, Finland has had a female president, Tarja Halonen, who in 2006 was re elected to a second term. For a brief period in 2003 the top two positions were headed by women, when Finland elected a woman Prime Minister, Anneli Jaeaetteenmaeki, who resigned after two months.
“Finnish women might very well now find a stronger, united front in their efforts to get better pay for lower wage-earners like auxiliary nurses,” said Jaana Kuusipalo, a political scientist as the University of Tampere, according to the Associated Press.