Sunday, May 12, 2013

Minna Canth of Finland

In spite of our shrinking world, how little we still know of other cultures and especially the women who have made their mark in them. 

The shuttle airline, Norwegian, has a novel way of celebrating notable Scandinavian men and women and bringing them to the attention of people in other countries by carrying images on the tails of its aircraft. Some of the women are instantly recognisable such as film-star Greta Garbo and ice-skater Sonja Henie but most of them would not be as well-known to the wider world.

So thanks to a recent flight on such a plane, I was inspired to learn something about Minna Canth, the remarkable Finnish writer and female activist. Her English Wikipedia entry is fairly basic but much more can found in the Finnish version.

She is so highly respected in Finland that streets are named after her, she is represented in  several sculptures and statues, has been on a commemorative coin, has featured on a stamp and now has her own Finnish flag day (March 19) – Minna Canth Day, the Day of Equality.

Statue of Minna Canth by Lauri Leppänen, Tampere
Various links for more information about Minna and her achievements:

Internet Archive has several of her books, but all appear to be in Finnish.

Minna on the tail of the plane (photo from