15:34 . I come from the Swedish-speaking minority in Finland ; I think we are about 8% – wait no 5% now. I still go to Sweden sometimes, I have family living there. When me and my mum eat princess cake together , that is very Swedish! So obviously, I feel some cultural attachment to Sweden, but my home remains Finland. There were never a point where I felt anything less than Finnish. Here? Oh. It doesn’t make much difference to people here; for them we’re just a big bowl of Nordic countries (She laughs)
I used to be quite shy in my core. In Finland people are quite shy: you listen first for as long as possible and then you talk; if necessary. But this past year in Brussels has changed my perspective; it has helped me toughen up. I learned to stand up for myself when needed. I had to because it sometimes feels like ‘the only way’ to be heard here. I think being shy and being a good listener are both a good thing and I will never stop being either. But in this, being part of the metoo movement – I cannot be nice, because what is happening is clearly unjustified! We are talking here about our basic rights to feel safe in our own working environment. I believe in the cause we are defending. So, I had to toughen up.
Anni works as a parliamentary assistant at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium. She is also a spokesperson of the metoo movement in the institution – a movement of workers aimed at denouncing and combatting sexual harrassment.
*Finland has a Swedish speaking minority of about 5% of its population. After Finland gained its independence from Russia in 1917, it ensured in its Constitution that Swedish speakers, who still controlled much of Finland, would be granted equal rights culturally, educationally and socially. As of today, Finland has two official languages, Finnish and Swedish.