Minna Canth (1844 – 1897)
My Finnish calendar tells me it is Minna Canth Day. She was a Finnish-Swedish writer born on March 19, 1844. She wrote short stories, plays and essays, mainly about poverty, women’s rights and the problems resulting from alcoholism, all while managing a business, raising seven children alone after her husband died, and keeping a sort of salon at her house in Kuopio where writers and intellectuals liked to gather.
Her views were controversial back then and her opinions considered radical but luckily she was not afraid to express them! One of her plays, The Worker’s Wife (Työmiehen Vaimo) from 1885 tells the story of a woman whose husband drinks her money away and there is nothing she can do about it because back then, married women had no legal control over their own assets and earnings! This was changed in 1889.
According to Wikipedia, Finland was also the first country to have universal suffrage, where everyone of age had the right to vote and stand for elections (1906).