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Finns Party women: Party is neither racist nor chauvinist

Both male and female representatives of the Finns Party claim that both their party and its leader are in favour of gender equality.

Perussuomalaisten ehdokkaat Etelä-Karjalan Radion vaalitentissä olivat Marja-Leena Leppänen ja Erkki Saarimäki.
Finns Party Women's Association chair, Marja-Leena Leppänen. Image: YLE Etelä-Karjala

True Finns chairperson, Timo Soini, was again at the centre of controversy after stating that the Social Democratic Party’s (SDP) recent ministerial changes proved that they had abandoned male workers. The SDP’s reshuffle tipped the gender balance to create a female-majority cabinet.  

European Parliamentary representative Liisa Jaakonsaari blogged that Soini’s statement was chauvinistic and the SDP’s Eero Vainio issued a statement invoking the same claim.

Finns Party Women’s Association President, Marja-Leena Leppänen went into damage control.

“Soini is not a chauvinist”, Leppänen says.

In Leppänen’s opinion, the Finns Party has been labelled for no reason. In her view, the question of whether or not the party is sexist is the same type of question as whether or not it is racist. She believes that the Finns Party is neither.

Less than a quarter of Finns Party members female

Only 23 percent of Finns Party members are women. Leppänen is campaigning for attract more female members.

“Yes, this has been a male oasis,” says Leppänen. “When we are campaigning on behalf of women, for example, when distributing female member’s shirts, there has been lip that they come from the “Hag Party”. Is that a sore point for some?” she wonders.

Leppästä does lament that the women of the True Finns are not visible. She would like to see, for example, women MPs doing interviews in women's magazines.

Ahonen: Gender does not matter

The “Old Blokes Association” was registered under as a labour organisation as a tongue-in-cheek response to the women's association.

In President Harri Ahonen's view, Soini’s statement is not something to be taken literally.

"In the ministerial reshuffle a man was benched and a woman took that place,” Ahonen. “Gender does not matter.”

In Ahonen’s opinion, it is not important whether decision making is carried out by a man or a woman

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