Security Policy | “Where are the women?” There were 16 men in the picture when the defense committee met the president

Security policy is still a men’s arena, says the Greens’ Hanna Holopainen. In his opinion, Russia’s attack on Ukraine forces us to consider the future of conscription at the latest.

The center Congressman Joonas Könttä shared a picture on Twitter on Thursday, which aroused a lively discussion when it was fresh. The photo shows the parliament’s defense committee and the president of the republic Sauli Niinistö at the president’s official residence in Mäntyniemi.

There is no woman in the picture of sixteen people. “Where are the women? By the stove?” We ask on Twitter.

Only two women sit in the fifteen-member defense committee. Könttä, the committee member who shared the photo, does not go into assessing the reasons for the uneven representation.

“Each parliamentary group makes its own decisions about committee seats. I would encourage all parties to favor qualifications regardless of gender, because Finland is full of smart women and men.”

Second of the women sitting on the committee are from the Greens Hanna Holopainen. He was included in the visit to Mäntyniemi, but was excluded from the picture shared by Köntä.

According to Holopainen, the picture from Mäntyniemi describes well the security policy in Finland: more men participate in it, and that is a serious matter, says Holopainen.

“It is not only a question of equality, but also a question of security.”

Holopainen says that even before working as a member of parliament, he was interested in overall security issues and that he studied security management.

“In parliament, I was amazed how it is that men end up on the defense committee.”

According to Holopainen, gender does not matter within the committee.

“In my opinion, I have received speaking time and opportunities to influence in the same way as others. There is a good spirit in the committee, and we work as a team there.”

Holopainen estimates that the background of the uneven distribution is largely due to conscription, which only applies to men. Defense and, for example, terms related to it, are obviously not as familiar to women as to men.

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According to Holopainen, at the latest, Russia’s attack on Ukraine and the subsequent deterioration of the security situation in Europe forces us to think about how to involve more women in national defense in Finland.

“We have a legal conflict where the constitution obliges everyone to defend the country, but conscription only applies to men. Women are not given tools for national defense.”

Hybrid threats also bring a new dimension to overall security, says Holopainen. In his opinion, this point of view also emphasizes that it does not make sense to leave half of the age groups out of the scope of conscription.

“Hybrid influencing can target anyone, it doesn’t ask for a military passport. We have been missing this thinking, and we need to fix it.”

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