“We female politicians can never get away from everyday life. We don’t have a ‘queue-jumping system’, nor a housewife to free us up to pursue a career in politics. We are the ones to take our children to the health centre and stand in the supermarket check-out queue. I feel that I’ve been in touch with people’s lives all this time.”
Before becoming a politician, Tuulikki Hämäläinen was a reporter for YLE for many years.
Tuulikki Katriina Hämäläinen forged a long career in Parliament (1983–1999) and served as a Minister in Prime Minister Harri Holkeri’s Cabinet for just over a year.
Working as a secretary at the Finnish State Computer Centre while studying, Hämäläinen graduated as Bachelor of Science in Economics and Business Administration in 1964. In 1965, she started out as a reporter specialising in politics and labour market issues at the news department of the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE), using the name Pia Hämäläinen. Her career as a reporter was interrupted in 1979–1980, when she worked as Political Secretary to Sinikka Luja-Penttilä, Minister of Social Affairs and Health.
Hämäläinen was first elected to Parliament in 1983 and for subsequent terms up until the spring of 1999. Among other duties, she served on the Parliamentary Grand Committee, the Agriculture and Forestry Committee and the Parliamentary Supervisory Council of the Bank of Finland and chaired the Commerce Committee from 1991 to 1995. In 1990, Hämäläinen became Vice President of her party.
Hämäläinen served as Second Minister of Social Affairs and Health responsible for social, alcohol and equality issues in the Holkeri Cabinet for just over a year. A key achievement during her ministerial term was passage of the new Act on Children’s Day Care. She took stands on alcohol policy by putting forward a proposal to lower the legal blood alcohol limit for drink-driving and by aiming to improve access to treatment for people with chronic alcohol problems, among other things. During her ministerial term, Hämäläinen also served as Vice Chair of the Social Democratic Party Executive Committee.
Hämäläinen was active in Hyvinkää’s local politics from 1977, chairing the Town Executive from 1981 to 1984 and serving on the Town Council from 1984 to 1987. She also served on the Administrative Councils of two state enterprises, Vapo Oy and Sisu Oy, and chaired a federation of ‘pro-home’ associations, Kotien Puolesta Keskusliitto.
“We female politicians can never get away from everyday life. We don’t have a ‘queue-jumping system’, nor a housewife to free us up to pursue a career in politics. We are the ones to take our children to the health centre and stand in the supermarket check-out queue. I feel that I’ve been in touch with people’s lives all this time.” (Vuoristo, Pekka: “Poliitikko, joka on hirveän tosissaan. Tuulikki Hämäläinen 50 vuotta.” [‘A politician who is terribly serious. Tuulikki Hämäläinen’s 50th birthday interview.’] Website of the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper at hs.fi, 25 November 1990.)
Date and place of birth: 25.11.1940 Helsinki
Political party: SDP
- 1.3.1990 - 26.4.1991
Minister at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, SDP