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Woman at the top in the Nordic Region
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Woman at the top in the Nordic Region

| Text: Berit Kvam, photo: Laura Kotila, Prime Minister's Office

Paula Lehtomäki from Finland becomes the new Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers. She was appointed on 5 September by the Nordic cooperation ministers under the leadership of Sweden and Margot Wallström. Lehtomäki begins her job in March 2019.

Paula Lehtomäki is currently State Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office in Finland. She has a long career in Finnish politics: 

She entered local politics when she was elected to the town council in her home town of Kuhmo in 1996. In 1999 she was elected a member of the Finnish parliament, where she remained for 16 years. She was a member of the Nordic Council for the whole of that period.

Paula Lehtomäki is a member of the Finnish Centre Party, and has held several government ministerial posts. In 2004 she became the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development in the Centre Party’s Matti Vanhanen’s first government, and from 2007 to 2011 she was the Minister for Environment in Matti Vanhanen’s second government. 

According to Wikipedia she is the mother of three children and a keen cross-country skier.

“The Nordic cooperation is seen as increasingly important. Both for me personally and for Finland, the Nordic Region is the most natural family in an uncertain future,” Paula Lehtomäki told Norden.org, which also quotes Margot Wallström:

“As a proponent of a feminist foreign policy, I am proud that Paula Lehtomäki is the first female Secretary General of the Nordic Council,” says minister of cooperation Margot Wallström, who heads the ministers’ meeting during Sweden’s 2018 Presidency. 

Paula Lehtomäki takes over from Secretary General Dagfinn Høybråten when his mandate expires in March next year.

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