5 things about Minna Canth

Women rights

Photo: Shirlene Green N/Kupion Museum

1-Minna was a Finnish writer, activist, mother, wife, dancer, and theatre actress. She was born in Tampere (centre of Finland) in 1844, under the name of Ulrika Wilhelmina Johnsson, being the oldest of four siblings.

2-She is the first woman in Finland to receive her day flat (19th of March).

3-In Jyväskylä, she attended the Teacher Seminary, which was the first one in Finland to offer higher education for women.

4-She worked at the Keski-Suomi newspaper and Päijäinne. At this last one she published her first work of fiction and stories.

5-Her works were referring to women’s rights issues. The topics she develops in her writing were the separation of property between husband and wife, unwillingness to be a mother, injustice for women, and others.

Minna Canth

Minna Canth legacy is a strong pillar for Finnish women’s today.

Do you know why there are flags rise today in Finland? It is because it’s Minna Canth Day. Since 2007, this day was established as hers and social equality day. Minna is the first woman in Finland to receive her day flat.

But who was Minna? Have you heard about her? She was a Finnish writer, activist, mother, wife, dancer, and theatre actress. She was born on the 19th of March, 1844, in Tampere (centre of Finland), under the name of Ulrika Wihelmina Johnsson, being the  oldest of four siblings. In 1853, her father was allowed to be in charge of the Finlayson shop in Kupio, so the entire family moved. 

Minna Canth

She studied at Finlayson’s textile school in Tampere, at the girl’s school in Kuopio; and in 1863, she attended the Jyväskylä Teacher Seminary, which was the first one in Finland to offer higher education for women.

While living in Jyväskylä, she met Johan Ferdinand Canth, who was a natural science teacher with whom she married and procreated seven children. At that time, she also started to work at the Keski-Suomi newspaper where her husband was an editor. But soon, both were forced to leave since Minna’s writing about women’s rights was too controversial for the time. But a year later, both were hired at the competent newspaper, Päijäinne, where she published her first work of fiction and stories.

At age 35, she became a widow, so she moved back to Kuopio to work at the textile shop her father owned while raising her children.

Minna’s Museum in Kuopio

As a writer, she became a well-known figure. For example, in 1885, a Bishop had argued that God’s order to women was not emancipation, to which she stood up and advocated with a strong point of view.

Her works were referring to women’s rights issues. Among are The Pastor’s familyThe Worker’s Wife (Työmiehen vaimo ) and Anna Liisa. The topics she develops in her writing were the Separation of Property between Husband and Wife, Unwilling to be a Mother, Injustice for Women, and others.

She died on the 12th of May, 1897, in Kuopio, at the age of 53, of a heart attack.