A pioneering experiment in Kainuu: the goal is to promote gendered perspectives on vitality policy

The Regional Council of Kainuu and the City of Kajaani are launching a project aimed at integrating the perspective of young women more strongly into vitality policy and regional development. The experiment creates a new operating model for vitality policy to be used by Kainuu’s municipalities, where the wishes and needs of young women are better taken into account in decision-making. MDI carries out the project.

The project is based on the observation that, especially in rural areas, women are more likely to go to bigger cities to study, while men are more likely to stay in their home region, according to the available statistics. In all municipalities in Kainuu, young women are severely under-represented (60–80 women per 100 men), posing various challenges to the vitality of municipalities, among other things.

“We were concerned that young women were severely under-represented in all municipalities in Kainuu. We wanted to do something about it, ” says Minna Komulainen, a regional development expert from the Regional Council of Kainuu.

“The theme already emerged in 2018 in Kajaani’s urban strategy discussions. The aim of this project is to include concrete things, development projects and activities in the vitality programme that promote effectiveness” says Risto Hämäläinen, Development Director of Kajaani.

The experiment will also benefit the vitality work of other areas in the future. The project will carry out experiments and look for new opportunities to create operating models for vitality policy. In the future, the results can be utilised in regional plan and municipal strategy work, nationally.

“Young women need to be provided with forums to enable them to participate in the future of their community. Women need to be involved in decision-making to introduce ideas and share problems. The key is how to get young women involved in development on a permanent basis. Now we are looking for new operating models, ”says Eero Holstila, MDI’s advisor involved in the project.

The experiment was launched in October 2020 with the first part of the study including a statistical analysis, interviews and a survey. The second phase will identify and test new practices, such as ‘women’s panels’, that produce new content for vitality policy. In the third and final stage, the operating model of Kajaani’s vitality policy will be formulated, taking into account the perspective of young women and new ideas. The final report will be completed in February 2021.

More information

regional development expert Minna Komulainen, Regional Association of Kainuu, tel. 044 410 0726

Risto Hämäläinen, City of Kajaani, tel. 0447100217


Leading specialist  Ph.D. Kaisa Lähteenmäki-Smith, 050 513 4810

Advisor Eero Holstila, 050  567 2087