Today we were celebrateing in Finland equality and Minna Canth (1844-1897) who was social policymaker, journalist, business woman and writer. She did fight for womens equality and she was pioneer of finnish-speaking education. Canth was also the first remarkable finnish-speaking playwright and prosaist after Aleksis Kivi and first finnish-speaking journalist woman.

In Kuopio Minna got her own salon: Minna’s salong where were visiting many writers and cultural policymakers.

Canth published then plays, seven novelles, storys, articles and speaks. She did represent realism and did examine in her work faults of society.


”Työmiehen vaimo” (Workmans woman 1885) is the most well known and the most radical Minna’s work where the main character Johanna have married man who drink and lures his ex-beloved. In this work Minna is criticising alcohol and mens dominance in marriage. 

Also ”Köyhää kansaa” (Poor people 1886) is very social story. It’s a story of poor family which father have lost his job. This work is considering social inequality and wealthy people selfishnes. 

”Hanna” (1886) is awakening educational and moral questions. Hanna is young girl who is interested of studying but her parents doesn’t think it’s suitable for girl. Also her beloved cheat her. Hanna is young girls development story which have not happy ending.

”Kovan onnen lapsia” (Hapless children 1888) is work when Canth’s fanaticism did come to the top. It attacs against the class-society so badly that the theatre shows ended after premiere.

”Sylvi”(1893) is about unhappy marriage. Married Sylvi falls in love with other man and want to divorce but her man don’t give it to her. Sylvi will poison her man but after that her beloved doesn’t want her anymore and Sylvi will end up to prison. This work seem to be criticising marriages absoluteness.

”Anna Liisa” (1895) is handeling murder of child and adaption of that. It brings up the dostojevsk thought that the recognition is adaption to the wrong act.


Canth wandered at poor people and prisons to get to know their life style. So she had real touch of that kind of life and she drawed her storys based of what she saw and heared. 

Canth handeled realistic and hard topics and have awaken with those lot of questions of the statement of society. This way she did clear the way to new thinking and made Finland better place to live over the years -also for us- women. It’s largely her income that things with women are come to this far. We are luckily almost as equal as men these days. One thing what still would need a change is wage level which is unequal and we also still have some domestic violence (being focused at women) but I think it’s mostly because of alcohol. That we should learn to use with temperance. Generally women in Finland anyway have things quite good and I’m very greatful for that! Thank you, Minna Canth for your great work!

Informant: Wikipedia


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