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Outi Alanko-Kahiluoto

Satu Outi Kristiina Alanko-Kahiluoto
Born June 14, 1966, Helsinki

PhD 2007, Licentiate 1994, Master of Arts 1993 (comparative literature), University of Helsinki

Member of parliament, 2007–
Chairman of the Greens’ parliamentary group 2013–
Member of the parliamentary Social Affairs and Health Committee
Researcher, research associate and teacher 1993-2007, University of Helsinki, Institute for Art Research
Member of Helsinki City Council 2005–
Chairman 2015–, NYTKS (The Coalition of Finnish Women´s Associations)
Chairman 2015–, Green Women’s Association, 2015–
Member of the Council for Gender Equality (TANE)

Writing Otherwise than Seeing: Writing and Exteriority in Maurice Blanchot 2007. Doctoral dissertation.
Maurice Blanchot. “Kirjallisuus ja oikeus kuolemaan(‘Literature and the right to die’), Nuori Voima 6/01, 14-28, NVL, 2001.
Kirjallisuudentutkimuksen peruskäsitteitä (’Fundamental concepts of literary research’) ed. together with Tiina Käkelä-Puumala. SKS 2001.

Awards and special achievements:
Honorary award of Finnish Youth Cooperation – Allianssi for working for the benefit of youth as a Member of Parliament 2011
Allianssi award for the most pro-youth Member of Parliament 2013 and 2015
Cross of Merit of Disabled War Veterans for work for the benefit of Finnish disabled war veterans 2015

Photo: Veikko Somerpuro
Written by Outi Alanko-Kahiluoto (Tiia Niemelä, ed.)

Translated by Matthew Billington

From union activist to social activist

I never thought of becoming a politician. I have no background in student politics or political youth organisations. I joined the Greens in Spring 2004, with the notion of promoting funding for basic public services in East Helsinki. I didn't expect to be elected to the city council my first time out. The same thing happened in the 2007 general election.

Even though I was new to party politics, I had been active in The Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers (FUURT) while working at the University; for a time I was even the shop steward for the humanities. I chaired the Social Security Work Group for FUURT, since I wanted to improve the precarious position of part time teachers and grant-funded researchers. I was often disappointed by the reluctance of unions to defend untenured researchers. It's illuminating that I had to step down as shop steward when I took a grant for research. Grant recipients didn't even have a shop steward in the union.

I was not alone in being bothered by the precarious situation of freelancers, grant and scholarship recipients, and part-time teachers. Many of my friends working in the creative professions agreed with the idea of a popular movement to improve the situation of the precariat. In Autumn 2006, with my friends and colleagues Pajari Räsänen, Martti-Tapio Kuuskoski, and Laura Lindstedt, I founded the TATUSOTU movement. The name TATUSOTU came from the Finnish for “Working group to promote social security for artists and researchers.” Our goal was to extend social security coverage to creative workers in all fields. Before the 2007 election we held a demonstration in support of culture workers. That was the largest demonstration in support of researchers I've ever attended. Our signs and our demands enjoyed exposure throughout the media, and for a while the issue of social security for grant and scholarship recipients was on everyone's lips. After the 2007 election, as a brand new member of Parliament, I was able to assist in writing a pledge for social security coverage for grant and scholarship recipients and improved unemployment benefits for artists and researchers into the government platform programme. The legislation was enacted within the year, but the unemployment safety net for the self-employed is still seriously incomplete.

Photo: Veikko Somerpuro


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