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The Women Entrepreneurs of Finland

The Women Entrepreneurs of Finland (Suomen Yrittäjänaiset) was set up in 1947. The goal of the Association is to promote the economic, social and operating conditions of women entrepreneurs. At present the Women Entrepreneurs of Finland has more than 70 member associations and about 7.000 individual members.

Finnish women were the first in the world to get full political rights. They were also among the first to set up their own companies and to engage in independent businesses. Finnish business women were also the first in the world to form their own organisation. The Women Entrepreneurs of Finland was set up already in 1947 and it is still one of the few central bodies of women entrepreneurs in the world.

The world has changed a lot since the association was founded and so has the standing of women and women entrepreneurs. Progress has been made, working methods have changed, family life is less home-oriented and more work-oriented, and new technical equipment helps us with both working routines and household tasks.

At the same time the amount of work done by women and women entrepreneurs has multiplied as well as their responsibilities and duties. The members of us have achieved a lot by working together, but much still remains to be done. This is why our activities are growing, the forms they take are diversifying and the number of members is increasing.

Our operation principles state that the goal of the Association is to promote the economic, social and general operating conditions of women entrepreneurs and to take part in activities encouraging private enterprise in co-operation with other organisations and groups. In practice, this means using active influence at national, provincial and municipal level.

We are asked for comment and opinion on current questions concerning private enterprise, social policy and the status of women. We play an active role in the debate taking place in society on women´s role and enterprise. We work to achieve our goals in association with other organisations sympathetic to our aims. We train ourselves and improve our professional skills in order to cope even better with our everyday work in these times of rules and regulations.

At present the Women Entrepreneurs of Finland has more than 70 member associations and about 7.000 individual members. Women are showing an ever keener interest in private enterprise in Finland today. Their ambitions are being noticed and encouraged in our society.

To succeed in business, though, a woman needs more than society can give, she must have true dedication and long-range thinking together with a business idea that takes into proper account local competition.

The laws affecting businesses are the same for women and men, but the practice is different! The biggest or the most expensive problem in Finland is the maternity leave costs.

When a woman employee has to be away from work because of her pregnancy, it is her employer, who pays the costs. And the baby is not a firms fault!

Also the sectors in which women are involved are different. The segregation of branches in Finland is one of the biggest in Europe. A business woman usually has a service enterprise employing other women. This means that the social obligations and legislative issues concerning the status of women, childcare and other aspects of welfare affect particularly a woman entrepreneur.

The branches of business
32 % Retail trade
18 % business to business services
17 % social and personal services
7 % hotel and catering
5 % industry
3 % transportation and storage
3 % construction
2 % agriculture and forestry
2 % electricity
11 % other areas


The sizes of enterprises
40 % self-employed (no employees)
35 % < 5
11 % 5-10
7 % 11-50
6 % > 50
1 % > 100

More information:
managing director Marju Silander
tel. +358 50 409 2561
marju.silander (a) yrittajanaiset.fi
Vuorikatu 4, 00100 Helsinki

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