From Ovi magazine - Ovi Lehti in Finnish,
I was not really planning to write anything for Women’s Day because I somehow believe that living in the country where women were the first in Europe to practice the right of voting, elect and elected there is nothing more to write about. Finland is very proud for her women and has every right to be because women throughout Finnish history have stood as equals next to the men on the front line in the farms, in industry and in war.
And that was the belief till I sat at the table for dinner with my little daughter and she proudly informed me that her school or better kindergarten was planning something special for Women’s Day. My three-year-old daughter was thrilled and I was really impressed until the second wave with the explanation came. For Women’s Day in the school, the kids will be divided in two teams: one all boys and one all girls. The boys will spend their day in one room where they can play with their little soldiers, pirates and castles, while the girls, in another room, will play…beauty salon!
I believe that my daughter is not lying and I have no reason not to believe it, but all this was somehow too much for me, so I had to confirm it and I did so with a telephone call. Every single word was true. Now my next question is if I’m going to let my daughter go to school and play Women’s Day.
Then the mind starts playing games. Four years ago, again during the elections, it was Women’s Day and all the news had pictures of candidates going around the city giving roses to all the women. Matti Vanhanen was one of them. All the big stores and cafes did exactly the same. So this is what we are going to see today, happy politicians taking to the streets of Helsinki and giving roses to happy smiling women, who will accept them - Who gives a damn if women are less paid in Finland? Who gives a damn if women are often victims of domestic violence? Who gives a damn if equality stopped in theory, so long as there is a rose waiting for every Finnish woman in the mall? Aside from the ‘vote for me’ brochure, who gives a damn?
My three-year-old daughter, instead of sitting with the boys of her class and learning what equality means, learning that there are not boy’s and girl’s games, instead of learning that she lives in a society where everything is equal for boys and girls and instead of learning to respect and demand respect, she’s going to learn how to be a nice…Barbie! What else is there left for me to think! A beauty salon! Who came with this idea?
Naively I asked what ‘beauty salon’ means and my daughter explained that it is with their dolls, refusing to give any further explanation. So, after spending all these centuries escaping from the kitchen and making the babies, a life without dreams and depending upon the master husband, with housewife being her one and only career, over a century after women voted in this country, my daughter is learning to be the ‘ideal’ housewife where her fingernails will become the center of her existence!
I think for Women’s Day I’m going to take my daughter and spend most of our day in the park, I think I will show her one more time that to be a father is fun and that a dad can do as much a mum can do. I will avoid all the politicians and their hypocritical smiles and roses, and I will read to her a story where the hero will be the word 'respect'. Most of all, I’m not going to play…Women’s Day!