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Majority of surviving war vets in Finland now women

Regardless of gender, the average age of war veterans is about 92.

Lotta Svärd- järjestön tunnus naisen kauluksessa
During wartime, women worked as food providers, office and communications personnel, medical staff and maintenance service workers. Image: Mari Latva-Karjanmaa / Yle

The majority of surviving veterans who served during wartime is now female, according to the Finnish War Veterans Federation.

There was a total of slightly more than 7,800 living vets in the country at the beginning of this year, according to social insurance institution Kela. Around 3,850 were male and 4,000 female.

"The reason for this is that female veterans were somewhat younger than the males who served, and statistically [women] live longer," Heikki Karhu, executive director of the Union of Front Veteran Soldiers, said.

About 2,500 veterans died last year, and the average age of surviving male and female vets is 94.9 and 90 years, respectively.

Finland's last vet is expected to survive until 2036, and the union said its support programme for veterans will continue for many years.

"Our service and support work also extends to the spouses and widows of veterans," Sakari Martimo, the veterans' union executive director, explained.

Many women were recruited by the Lotta Svärd organisation to serve in a host of different roles to aid the war effort.

Women worked as food providers, office and communications personnel, medical staff and maintenance service workers.

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