Old Women and Men as Political Actors in Finnish Lapland

  • Päivi NaskaliEmail author
Part of the International Perspectives on Aging book series (Int. Perspect. Aging, volume 22)


The purpose of this article is to study how gender and age relate to positions of power in municipal politics and examine the possibilities for and restrictions on old people’s political agency in the intersections of socio-economic status and gender. Politics is understood in a broad sense as including participation in municipal decision making, active involvement in organisations and engaging in voluntary work. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected, comprising statistics on the age and gender of board members, chairpersons and managers in 21 municipalities in Finnish Lapland, as well as a case interview of a politically active retired couple. The results indicate that older people in the region actively take part in municipal politics and that older men in particular play an important role in decision making. The analysis of the interview identified the following conditions for active participation: education, participation in working life, economic situation and health. Ageism, resulting from the cult of youth and the politics of austerity, was interpreted as an obstacle to participation.


Age Gender Municipal politics Participation Finnish Lapland 



The author thanks Linda Sainio, Seija Keskitalo-Foley and Richard Foley and the anonymous reviewer for their valuable support during the writing process for improving the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Unit for Gender Studies, Faculty of EducationUniversity of LaplandRovaniemiFinland

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