Very interesting article over at The Atlantic about Finland how it compares to America. Well worth reading.
"..........One advantage Finland did have, however, was enlightened policies
towards gender. The country focused on beefing up child and maternal
care in large part
because women were at the core of Finland's independence and
nation-building efforts at the turn of the 20th century. Finnish women
were the second in the
world to get the vote in 1906, and they were heavily represented in
the country's first parliament.
Ellen Marakowitz, a lecturer at Columbia University who studies
Finland, argues that because women helped form modern Finland, things
like maternity leave
and child benefits naturally shaped its welfare structure decades
"You have a state system that was built on issues concerning Finnish
citizens, both men and women, rather than women's rights," she said.
created in this equal footing for men and women.""