Finland's First Female President on Women's Rights, Health Care and Rise of Far Right in Europe

As we broadcast from UNESCO in Paris, we speak with Tarja Halonen, who was elected in 2000 as Finland’s first female president and served until 2012. Her election came about 100 years after Finland became the first European country where women were given the right to vote. In 2009, Forbes named Halonen among the 100 Most Powerful Women in the world. Since leaving office, she has become a prominent advocate for gender equality as well as transparency. She spoke today to mark the International Day for the Universal Access to Information, and we asked her about the country’s cost-effective healthcare system, which she says has given Finland “a lower infant mortality rate, better maternity care than the United States.”

TRANSCRIPT

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. We’re broadcasting from UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France. And we’re ending today’s show with the former president of Finland, Tarja Halonen. She was elected in 2000, becoming Finland’s first [female] president, served until 2012, two six-year terms, the most that a president can serve there. Her election came a hundred years after Finland became the first European country to be given the right to vote to women. In 2009, Forbes named President Halonen among the 100 Most Powerful Women in the world. Since leaving office, she’s become a prominent advocate for gender equality as well as transparency. Earlier today, she spoke here at UNESCO at the IPDCtalks to mark International Day for Universal Access to Information.

President Tarja Halonen, welcome to Democracy Now! In the United States, until Election Day, many thought, in that last few months in the general election, that the United States would have elected their first woman, Hillary Clinton. That didn’t happen. President Trump was elected, a man who a number of women said had sexually assaulted them. He said that he would sue them after the election. That hasn’t happened. But your thoughts on President…

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