The former president of Finland, Tarja Halonen, has been under fire following public statements made to a radio station. Halonen (76) told YLE’s Politiikkaradio that in countries where the social position of women is strong and which have a history of women in leading positions, the results when managing the pandemic have been better.
According to Halonen, "in all countries where women have had a strong position and that have had female leaders, it seems that the situation has gone better,” she assessed.
In her opinion, this is valid also for the Nordic countries, despite the fact that they have a welfare society that is for the most part very similar. “Our western neighbour Sweden doesn’t seem to be faring all too well, but then again men are in charge there,” she added.
The Swedish Government is headed by a man, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. And the national strategy against the Covid-19 crisis has been largely directed by the Swedish chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell.
The Swedish Prime Minister, Stefan Lofven. Photo: Reuters/File photo.
Marin and Merkel
In the same interview, Halonen cited Finland and Germany as examples of success in managing the pandemic. She claimed that Finland, led by Social Democratic Prime Minister Sanna Marin, and Germany, led by Chancellor Angela Merkel (Christian Democratic), have performed very well in their response to the virus.
Angela Merkel-Sanna (L) and Sanna Marin. Photo: Bernhard Ludewig/Finnish-Government.
Halonen explained that, in her opinion, women fight the coronavirus better because they have a different experience, which helps to face new types of security risks, such as a pandemic.
Halonen's words were widely publicized and criticized by the Swedish media. Also many Finns expressed their rejection on social media.