tv 100 Women BBC News December 28, 2020 4:30pm-5:01pm GMT
that was agreed between the uk and the eu on christmas eve. the move means the changes can take effect from the 1st of january. president trump has signed a coronavirus relief and spending package, after previously threatening to block the bill — saying parts of it were ‘wasteful‘. democrats have urged the president to follow up the bill with more help for struggling workers. the daily number of coronavirus cases in the uk has passed 40,000 for the first time. there were 41,385 new cases — with 357 more deaths — as the new variant puts pressure on hospitals. a chinese journalist, zhang zhan, who reported on the early days of the coronavirus outbreak in the city of wuhan has been sentenced to four years in jail. she was convicted of provoking trouble with her reports that criticised the authorities‘ initial response to the pandemic.
now on bbc news, behind—the—scenes to explore how finland's coalition government — led by five women — works in practice and its impact. women run the world: finland's female leaders coming up as part of our 100 women series. when i was younger, my perception of politicians was also that they are men in suits who talk on the 8:30pm news. sanna marin is the world's youngest serving female prime minister and heads the coalition of five parties, all led by women. from being the first country in europe to give equal voting rights, finland has been praised for its historic approach to gender equality.
but is all as good as it seems to be? five white educated females is not very representative in the end. and is this really a country for every woman? of course, our background still affects the possibilities that we have in life and this should not be the case but of course we have problems. for the first time, finland's all—female leaders open their doors exclusively for the bbc. to show the inner workings of this historic government. li andersson is one of the five female party leaders that make up the country's coalition government. this week, the cabinet are going to be meeting to launch a signature government programme,
the equality plan, aimed to improve equality across society, including on race and gender issues. there's so much been made since december 2019 about this being such a young government, and such, and the gender of the government, as well. what are your thoughts when you read the headlines and see the kind of top line of what the international media has been saying? i have mixed emotions regarding it, because on the one hand, i understand the power of example and symbolic value of that, but i also think there is kind of this tendency of some people to say that, because there is women, you will make a certain type of policy or it is easier for you to agree when you are all women and so on, and that is not, i think necessarily the case and that is why i also want there to be a focus around policy. of the government, not just the gender of the female party leaders.
i mean, in finnish media, i think there has been some kind of comments around whether we'll go to the sauna together, because there is this old cliche about finnish politics that the decisions are made in the sauna, something that had been heavily criticised in feminist circles because, you know, the whole idea of male decision—makers sitting in a sauna is based on this concept of decision—makers being solely men. like a boys‘ club? yes. and of course, i mean, what we want is not to reproduce the excluding structures that men have used as women, but really to change the whole structures. li andersson and sanna marin were both members of their respective youth parties, years before taking office. a tv debate featuring them both from 2011 was one of the first times a wider finnish public was introduced to them.
when i was younger, my perception of politicians was also that they are men in suits who talk on the 8:30pm news. and they are at a huge distance from me or my family or everyday life. i mean, especially in the youth organisations, i think there is a huge amount of idealism, which you should have when you are working in the youth organisations which i kind of miss, in a way in myself. so i think both me and sanna were a lot more work focused and maybe also a bit more aware of kind of the political realities of the field we are working in now,
compared to what we did when we were in the youth organisations. prime minister sanna marin grew up in a modest sized town, two hours north—west of helsinki. she was raised in a low—income family of lesbian mothers and was the first person to go to university in herfamily. while she speaks honestly about her background, she remains fiercely guarded about her family and private life. she would have been in any one of these classrooms? she has been in all of these classrooms and i have taught in all of these classrooms, but... at the high school, her former head teacher recalls his memories. she was just an average girl, nothing extreme, nothing special. when you look at her and her first year of leadership, do you think any parts of her childhood or her upbringing would have informed how she is as a leader now from what you can see?
i think in common—sense, that she, her childhood has not been very easy. her strength and hard—working way to do things and leadership must have got something from her youth and childhood. education minister li andersson is attending a round circle chat with high schoolers. how did you guys feel when you saw this new government? i did not really mind that much. laughter. i am not saying it is bad, it is nice to see women, but i feel like as i have grown up, i have always felt that i could do whatever i wanted to do, so that is why seeing a woman didn't really mean as much because i knew that, it didn't really matter. li's government has an equality plan that is going to be, that is going to be addressing a lot of issues including education.
to make an experience of yours easier in school, what would you suggest would be a change? maybe in health education, we do sexuality and gender, it is more focused on cisgendered and heterosexual people. it is mostly students i think who talk about it more, bring it up in class. iagree. the education tells a lot about what is important, what is valuable, what is the thing you want to teach the young ones? and if you do not include the minorities, then you do not, people do not learn about them. in reality, it is a lot dependent on teachers. yeah. it's also dependent on the school. i think all teachers do not necessarily have the tools that they would need to educate you and maybe sometimes you need to educate the teachers. although finland is celebrated for its equality, recent reports from the council of europe have
detailed what they call a concerning rise in racism the country. bella forsgren is the only black politician in finland's government and akunna 0nwen is the chair of the finland antiracist forum. for us on the outside when you look at finland, one of the first countries in the world to allow women to vote and run for government, you know, really good laws when it comes to maternity leave and also paternity leave, real conversations that are being had about the pay gap. is that inclusive of all women? would you say it is inclusive of black women as well?
she was the first female minister of the interior in the '805 but you saw many from the previous decades and she was in office when it was the chernobyl accident. what happened in finland was that people did not know what's happening there and we got the information quite late and so on. so she didn't get re—elected any more afterwards and so on, but then we have had some females afterwards. not too many. actually, i'm the first green ever in this ministry. so that is something new. i think the representation with five white educated females is not very representative, in the end. and there were a lot of critical writings when this photo went viral, that if we really look at the equality here, it does not show yet, and i agree on that.
the idea of maintaining, taking care of the welfare state, as a system, led me to study social politics and i thought that 0k, i have got quite a lot of help from the welfare state. my dad, especially, was unemployed, had some substance abuse problems, they divorced when i was one—year—old. so i was also brought up with a single mother for a little while in my life. so maybe this background influenced something that, in many countries, that this would not be the beginning for a political career. actually it was the first female president and the only female president, she says it's not the person who breaks the glass ceiling, but the people who follow. and i think that is to the point. you always, you need the person who will break the ceiling but then
you also need all the people who will follow. and you should never stop that. far up in the arctic circle, finland's northern territory is home to europe's only indigenous population. the sami people. sami's ancestral land spread from russia to sweden sami's and the sami people still live off the land. in finland, they were only officially recognised by the government in the ‘90s and they still face a battle for their right to the land and their way of life. can you only get cloudberries in finland ? i think all over the arctic. an arctic fruit? yes. it is our vitamin bomb. it's a little vitamin pill? yes, it's very good for you. sara wesslin is a journalist
based in a sami town. she works for the finnish broadcaster where she is one of the two reporters to work in the skolt sami language. what are the major issues concerning sami people right now? we don't have a sami representative in finnish government. is that worrying? yes, of course, and there has been many years, there has been talk about and discussion about it, should samis have their own representatives in the eu? in your ideal future, what would you like this government to do? what would you like sanna marin to do? for sami women? we don't have to be ashamed that we are sami, living in finland, we can be proud that we are part of finnish nation. even being in the table, being in the room with decision—making. 0ne old saying that,
"nothing about us without us." one of the main issues addressed in the government equality plan is the rights of gender minorities in finland. trans rights activists have for years asked for reform of the trans act, a law that currently requires those seeking legal gender recognition to undergo enforced sterilisation. finland is the only nordic country that still requires infertility in order to get your legal gender recognised. in order to get male to female or female to male you need to prove that you cannot have biological children. in some cases, the people can become infertile enough by taking hormones, but if you are unable to take hormones or do not want to take hormones, then you will not get your legal gender recognised until you are in some other
way found infertile, meaning that at the end if nothing else helps, then it is surgical removal of your organs. for me, the case was that i was already perceived as a male when i started the legal process. and it still took me 2.5 years with a female passport, meaning i could not travel, outside of basically nordic countries, i could not apply for a job, could not apply for nothing without having issues, having to prove my identity. that made me be in a hurry with the medical part. we have had a female president, we have the youngest female leader of the country, but alone that does not, it is just a token alone, it has to have the support of the system behind it before it actually makes a difference in the law. we have had a coalition with some
sort of a very conservative party, saying that if this goes forward, we will resign from the coalition and all the other parties have caved in and said ok, fine, let's do it next time. so it's possible the trans act could be the sacrificial lamb once again? it looks that way. any coalition government is a mixed bag of politics and agendas that have come together in the hope of being more effective, but to implement any real change, all government plans require unanimous support across—the—board. when you build a government in finland, you put a lot of thought on what we call the government programme and there is a negotiation we had for three weeks in 2019 and then when you have that programme, everyone knows that this is it. this is what we have decided together.
when you are five different parties, you have to all the time try to see how you find solutions when you have different opinions. i mean, no party can have it just their own way and sometimes there are these tensions that have to do with making compromises behind closed doors, and of course, we are all one government so we all have to defend the compromises that we make in public. nice to meet you. shall we walk up together? great. finland's party leaders are meeting at helsinki's houses of the estates for the cabinet meeting to discuss the new equality programme. trans rights and racism are on the agenda. do you prep yourself up before... before doing these things? no, no. they ask and i will answer honestly, so you don't need preparation.
automated voice: please enter the conference password. finland has had coalition governments forever, so of course we are used to trying to make compromises and trying to find consensus between different parties and ideologies and i think it's also a big strength for us. of course it is not always the fastest way to get things done, but i think it's more... it goes further, this kind of decisions, than the ones that you only make yourself. there is always one or a few issues
on the table that we all want to discuss together. so that we will have different perspectives. for example, equality programme is something that not only one minister or ministry can do. it is something that every ministry has to focus on and make a decision in theirfield. gender minorities are also discussed in the equality programme. particular transgender people and finland has been in the spotlight, it has been three years since the european court of human rights has said that forced sterilisation should not be allowed in terms of recognising personal gender identity. but it is the case still in finland. what do you think of that? everyone should have the right to determine their own identities, so i think we need to do many
changes in our legislation and our government programme actually supports this kind of idea. for you, are trans women women? it's not myjob to identify people. it is everyone's job to identify themselves. if someone feels that he or she is a woman, then it is not my place to say. one of the things with early covid—19 response was a lot was written about how well finland, taiwan, new zealand and germany did in terms of their covid—19 response,
quick and decisive action. the other thing those countries have in common are female leaders. well, of course there are countries led by men that have also done well, so i don't think it is a gender—based issue, i think we should more focus on how the countries that have done well, what they have done, what they have learned, what we all can learn from each other and that we also have a response together, because it's a global pandemic. at some point, something might change and that popularity might change when a decision needs to be made, especially maybe during covid—19 times. does that worry you at all? i don't... ..look at polls. the most important thing is we try to make the decisions that we have to make based on the best knowledge that we can use.
and also that we are trying to make decisions in a way that helps ordinary people in their ordinary lives. in crises and also in normal times. of course, our backgrounds still affects the possibilities that we have in life and this should not be the case but of course we have problems. it is not the last time that we will discuss these issues and of course it is important
that we are all focused on how we will make the programme a reality. so this is my mission as a prime minister. but there are challenges ahead. and no prime minister in finland has seen a full term for decades. but with 85% approval rating, sanna marin is enjoying a striking level of confidence in uneasy times. hello, it's a cold and bright day for many of you, but for others it really has been a winter wonderland today. we have seen snow as far south
as the cotswolds and even in the downs this afternoon, and we are going to continue to see some further bouts of snow across the country. in different areas from one day to the next, but it is always going to be a fine balance for some between snow, rain and sleet. but either way it is going to be cold, frosty and icy by night. now, today it is cold out there, strong winds down the western flank, rain, but a little bit of sleet and snow mixed in over the higher ground towards pembrokeshire and cornwall. rain, sleet, snow mix clearing away from southern counties of england through the rest of today, but more showers down the eastern coast. rain on the coastal strip, a little bit of sleet and snow inland. and by the time we hit this evening, already temperatures close to freezing. now, tonight the showers become more abundant through parts of scotland and northern england. rain along the coast, turning to sleet and snow inland, even the uphill parts. sheffield, manchester, leeds, bradford could see a covering of snow again as we head into tomorrow morning. away from that, though, it is going to be icy with temperatures widely below freezing. so another cold day in store. still breezy down western areas, but we could see a rain, sleet, snow mix move
through the peak district, staffordshire, shropshire, the midlands, towards parts of wales and eventually the south—west. so another coating of snow possible for some of you. notice though through the afternoon showers mainly around coastal districts, most inland will be dry and clear with some sunshine. some of you will be dry all day long, but it will stay cold. cold because we have got low pressure sitting to the east of us, dragging down airfrom the north. but watch what happens tuesday night into wednesday. we see this weather feature push its way in. now, to the south of that, there will be some milder air, so could be some rain, but the northern edge of it pushing into colder air so a greater likelihood of some snow which could in itself cause disruption. the uncertainty is where that snow will track. at the moment, it could just fringe into northern ireland. it looks like it could go through wales, the midlands, towards east anglia. rain along southern coastal counties, but bear in mind, if that system is a bit further south, it will be snow rather than rain in the south. the north of it staying dry and bright. that system, though, either way, once it clears out the way could give some snow for a time in east anglia and the south—east.
and then into new year's eve, more in the way of batches of showers coming down, which could give us a covering of snow to take us into the new year's day across some eastern counties of england. a lot to play for, but certainly for new year's day at the moment, many will be dry and bright but still cold.
this is bbc news, i'm lukwesa burak. these are the latest headlines in the uk and around the world. eu ambassadors unanimously back the post—brexit trade deal that was agreed between the uk and the eu on christmas eve. president trump signs a coronavirus relief and spending package, after previously threatening to block it. the uk hits a new record of 41,385 covid—19 cases, with 357 more deaths as the new variant puts pressure on hospitals. a chinese journalist who reported on the early days of the coronavirus outbreak, has been sentenced to 4 years injail. tonight's premier league fixture between everton and manchester city has been cancelled for medical reasons, due to city's squad
IN COLLECTIONSBBC News Television Archive Television Archive News Search Service
Uploaded by TV Archive on