Google Doodle celebrates Minna Canth on her 137th birthday.
Minna Canth pioneered Finland’s spirit of equality. Beginning with journalism, she edited and wrote for the newspaper Keski-Suomi, later going on to publish her own paper, Wapaita Aatteita, with A.B. Mäkelä. After her husband’s death, Canth raised their 7 children alone, managed her family shop selling cloth, and developed her own writing. In 1878, she published her first book, a collection of short stories called Novelleja ja kertomuksia.
Through her literary work, Canth addressed social issues, pushing the envelope for workers’ rights and women’s freedoms. Her most famous play is Työmiehen vaimo, about urban labor and life.She helped pave the way for Finnish women to become the first in Europe to win the right to vote in 1906. Shortly after, in 1907, Finland became the first country in the world to elect women to Parliament.
Minna was also one of the first writers to write in Finnish rather than Swedish. This meant that not only was Minna fighting for women, but for the visibility of Finland on the world stage.
Her memory is marked with a statue and museum in her hometown of Kuopio, as well as statues in the other towns she called home, Tampere and Jyväskylä. Finland also celebrates her legacy every year with the Day of Equality, an observance of the advancements she made for equal treatment for all in Finland. Today, we honor Minna Canth on what would be her 137th birthday.