Review and Reflection on "The First 5": A Documentary Chronicling The Rise of Women in Finnish Politics

"The First 5" documentary has captured my attention for its intimate look at the lives of five women serving at the helm of Finland's government. Directed by Mia Halme, the series offers viewers a front-row seat to witness the triumphs and challenges faced by these dynamic leaders in a traditionally male-centric political landscape. Not just a political chronicle, the documentary unravels the deeply personal stories of Sanna Marin and her all-female cabinet: Li Andersson, Annika Saarikko, Anna-Maja Henriksson, and Maria Ohisalo.

Challenges and Crisis

The documentary comes at a time when the global landscape is fraught with challenges, making Marin and her cabinet's job particularly grueling. In addition to tackling domestic issues, the leaders had to confront the catastrophic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the crisis emanating from the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Finland's geographical proximity to these tensions only intensifies the stakes, making the documentary a rollercoaster of high-stress situations.

Women in a Man's World

The essence of the documentary is its attempt to shed light on what it means to be a woman in a male-dominated field. The narrative doesn't romanticize their journeys; instead, it captures the authenticity of their struggles. While it may not be relatable for every woman to be in a position of power during a global crisis, the overarching theme of navigating a gender-biased field is something that resonates universally.

The Human Element

One of the strengths of "The First 5" is how it portrays these women as fallible human beings rather than infallible superheroes. The path to effecting change is shown to be fraught with good intentions that sometimes backfire, causing discord within the cabinet and creating hurdles for their policy initiatives.

A Touch of Impartiality

While the documentary roots for these women, it doesn't shy away from showing the contentious atmosphere they operate within. This element of impartiality adds an extra layer of credibility to the documentary, depicting it as an authentic lens into the complexities of political leadership.


"The First 5" serves as an eye-opening look into the intricate world of politics, the unprecedented rise of women leaders in Finland, and the sheer grit it takes to be at the forefront during turbulent times. While it may have its flaws, the documentary stands as an important piece of work that contributes significantly to ongoing conversations about women in leadership roles.

While politics may often seem like "a bunch of kids complaining that they can’t decide what to buy with their allowance," this documentary brings much-needed gravitas and perspective to what it truly takes to be an agent of change, especially for women breaking barriers in a predominantly male domain.


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