“Woman engineers and greens who work within the old power structures often face the same basic problem: To work for a change, you have to gain credibility in the eyes of those who hold the power. But how can you prevent yourself from turning into one of them and losing your own original spirit? This is not an easy task.”
Minister Satu Hassi at a press briefing on 8 May 2002 after the Government decided to expand Finland's Natura nature conservation network.
Satu Maijastiina Hassi, a writer and Licentiate of Science in Technology, was the first woman in her party to serve in a Cabinet position.
A daughter of a university rector and a school principal, Satu Hassi graduated as Master of Science in Technology in Helsinki and completed her postgraduate degree of Licentiate of Science in Technology in Tampere. She became interested in politics in the early 1970s while participating in an Operation Day’s Work collection organised by the union of secondary school students, Teiniliitto (‘Teen League’), and in the Socialist Student League. Hassi was hired by the Tampere-based Oy Tampella Ab Tamrock as their first female engineer. After leaving Tamrock, she worked as a Senior Assistant’s substitute at Tampere University of Technology.
In the mid-1980s, Hassi embarked on a career as a freelance writer and was active in the feminist women’s movement in many ways. She has also served on the Tampere City Council from 1985 to 2000 and from 2013 to 2017. The disputes waged on the City Council to preserve the Tampella Mill heritage scenery contributed to the fact that she was elected to Parliament in 1991.
Hassi has played a highly influential role in the Green League since the 1980s, chairing the party from 1997 to 2001. In her politics, Hassi has emphasised themes relating to the environment, the economy and human rights. Hassi has chaired the Green Party Parliamentary Group on three occasions. As the Minister of Development and the Environment in Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen’s Second Cabinet, she especially focused on climate protection. Her ministerial term ended in resignation after three years, when Government decided to give the green light to a fifth nuclear power plant, which the Greens had opposed.
From 2004 to 2014, Hassi served as a Member of the European Parliament, working with environmental and energy issues. Her key themes included reduction of air pollution, use of chemicals and preservation of biodiversity. In 2015, she was re-elected to the Finnish Parliament, where she is currently chairing the Environment Committee, among other duties.
Hassi has written a collection of poems, a novel, memoirs and research literature. She has also been involved in writing textbooks and radio programmes. A common characteristic of many of Hassi’s works is a feminist perspective, in particular in relation to the worlds of technology and power.
“Woman engineers and greens who work within the old power structures often face the same basic problem: To work for a change, you have to gain credibility in the eyes of those who hold the power. But how can you prevent yourself from turning into one of them and losing your own original spirit? This is not an easy task.” (Satu Hassi’s website)
“In this work, it helps to have admired Pippi Longstocking as a child.” (Satu Hassi’s website)
Minister of the Environment Satu Hassi speaks on YLE's news cast about the Green League's decision to resign from Parliament on 24 May 2002. Her portion can be viewed starting a time stamp 2.22.
Date and place of birth: 3.6.1951 Helsinki
Political party: Vihreät
- 15.4.1999 - 31.5.2002
Minister of the Environment, Vihreät
Texts by: Annika Puukka, Nevelyn Media Oy and Prime Minister’s Office