Every year on March 19, Finns celebrate Equality Day (Fin. Tasa-arvon päivä). It coincides with the birthday of Minna Kant, a writer, playwright, journalist, and public figure who lived in the second half of the 19th century. In 2003, the Ministry of the Interior of Finland suggested celebrating this date, and in 2007 it was officially included in the calendar of public holidays.
Minna Canth (1844-1897) - under such an abbreviated name is known nee Ulrika Wilhelmina Johnsson (Ulrika Wilhelmina Johnsson) - dedicated her works in Finnish and Swedish to women, paying special attention to their plight and unfair treatment of them. Largely thanks to her, in 1906 in the Grand Duchy of Finland, women received the right to vote on an equal basis with men - for the first time in all of Europe.
The future writer and the first Finnish female journalist was born in the family of a merchant, a former factory worker. Wilhelmina received a good education at a teacher's seminary, but she never began to teach - she married Johan Ferdinand Kant, having given birth to seven children from him.
However, after only 14 years of marriage, Minna's husband died, and in order to feed her family, she had to master entrepreneurship - to manage a thread shop that had previously belonged to her father. A successful business allowed Minna to simultaneously engage in literary and social activities, and her house became a meeting place for the Finnish intelligentsia. In her salon, the progressive ideas of Darwinism and materialistic philosophy, the problems of women's equality and the secondary position of the Finnish language and culture were discussed.
Minna Kant's birthday is celebrated all over Finland today. On March 19, national flags are raised in the country in honor of Equality Day, and flowers are brought to the monument of the writer.