Before Sanna Marin came Benazir Bhutto

Source: Al Jazeera

by Maija Liuhto

Is having a female leader definitive proof that a country has reached gender equality?

On December 10, Finland’s left-wing Social Democrats, who lead a five-party coalition government, picked 34-year-old Minister of Transport and Communications Sanna Marin as the country’s new prime minister.

The decision made the relatively unknown politician an international celebrity overnight – after all it is not every day that a woman as young as Marin gets the chance to lead a country. Countless articles and news reports published and broadcast across the world celebrated her sudden rise to power as a “feminist victory” and praised Finland for its “progressiveness”.

Marin’s premiership has clearly been perceived by many in Finland and beyond as a manifestation of Nordic gender equality. But is Finland really that unique for having a young, female leader? And more importantly, is having a woman leader definitive proof that a country reached gender equality?

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