All the information below is provided by Pink Pangea community members based on their experiences abroad. Add your voice!
Feminine Hygienic Products
Alexandra says: All feminine products are available, and you can find them in supermarkets, corner shops, and pharmacies. In smaller supermarkets and kiosks you might not find a large selection of brands.
Alexandra says: All forms of contraception are available and legal in Finland. Condoms can be bought from supermarkets, service stations, kiosks and pharmacies.
Oral contraceptives, implants or injections have to be prescribed by a doctor at the health center, family clinic or private gynecologist. Oral contraceptives can be bought from the pharmacy once the prescription is received.
Recommended Gyncologists and Doctors
Alexandra says: I have not been to a gynecologist in Finland, but I believe that they would not be much different than in Australia.
Alexandra says: Breastfeeding is allowed in Finland and there are special “baby corners” and nursing rooms where you can breastfeed in a more private setting. People do not comment aloud to breastfeeding mothers in a positive or negative manner. Many people do not breastfeed in public due to a low breastfeeding rate, and most mothers give their babies bottles. There is also a bit of a mixed attitude about breastfeeding in society, but mothers are not made to feel awkward if they breastfeed in public.
Alexandra says: Finnish men are shy at approaching women (and strangers in general). So, if you want to talk to them, you will either have to make the first contact or get a mutual friend to introduce you. Once you talk to them they are very friendly.
On the weekends, the young people love to drink A LOT. Unless you know them personally, I would advise against trying to pick up someone from a bar. They will only look for a one-night stand, and sometimes just smiling might give the hint that you want to do more than just talk. This was my experience in Helsinki on a Friday night.
I would advise that if you’re going out with a Finnish man, let him set the pace. Be a bit more reserved. I have experienced that sometimes when I am very open and friendly with guys, they might get the wrong idea about where the night is leading. I have found that some things that I would do as a friend with an Australian guy are interpreted as sexual by some Finnish men.
Alexandra says: The types that I have spotted around are:
The Musician/ Rock ‘n’ Roller – Since Hard Rock/ Metal is big in Finland, expect to see plenty of men spotting tattoos, dreads/long hair, and lots of black. They love their music and smaller drinking establishments that are out of the way.
The Macho Men – Men who like to work with their hands and can pretty much build/ fix/ make anything from scratch. They love their sports, motocross, rallies, and drinking beer.
The Players – The men who are looking for a one-night stand or to score with some hot chick. There are plenty of these and mostly look like typical nice guys at first.
The Expat – Men who have relocated to Finland for work, or study, or any other reason. They are usually more outgoing and approachable than Finnish men, and will start a conversation with women they like.
Alexandra says: Finland is a very equal country, and the LGBTQ community have many of the same rights as in other Western countries. There are some LGBTQ bars and clubs in Helsinki. Discrimination is not allowed based on sexual preference, and, even though there is no same-sex marriage, same sex couples are recognized in relationships.
Alexandra says: Finland is one of the most equal countries when it comes to gender. You can tell because women and men are treated the same in the workplace, with the same pay and opportunities. There is no discrimination on the street, and men treat women equally in everyday situations. There are also women in Parliament and other areas of politics, military and other professions.
Alexandra says: Finnish women tend to be more quiet and reserved and take their time when talking. Their fashion is very elegant but minimalist. Most women in Finland wear little to no makeup and their clothes are very simple and stylish. As Rock culture is very big in Finland, you will also see many girls and women wearing Rock fashion like tattoos and piercings. These seem to be accepted and popular.
Alexandra says: Women and men are not segregated in any place. The only exception to this is the sauna, where usually men and women go separately. But there are many mixed public saunas.
Perception of Foreign Women
Alexandra says: Local men tend to think that I am friendly and cheerful because I am from Australia. I have been told that I act more open and confident, and less aggressive than women they are used to. There is also small number of men who think that if you are friendly, and more outgoing, it also means that you are “easy.” Local women do not react much when hearing that I am a foreigner.
Alexandra says: I have not found any transport to be unsafe for women. I have not experienced any harassment on public transport or taxis, at all hours of the day. I think that Finland is a very safe country, and you just need to use the same caution that you would use in your home country.
Shady Areas for Women
Alexandra says: There are no really dangerous areas for women. You do need to be vigilant on the weekend if you are out at night, as there are many drunk people around in Helsinki. And, also I have heard that the area around the Central Station can be dodgy at night.
Otherwise, in the rest of the country, there are no specific areas that are unsafe for women. Usual vigilance has to be kept when walking alone in less crowded places, as you would do back home.
Alexandra says: You can wear whatever you wish in Finland. There are no restrictions and people tend to leave you alone on the street. However, if you are wearing something that is revealing in the summer, be prepared to get hit on many times.
I would advise that if you are visiting any churches as a woman, you might want to wear something modest as the clergy might not allow you to enter otherwise.