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Made in Finland. Made by Women.

10 July, 2012 (09:36) | Facts About Finland, Finnish Businesses | By: Snezhana Snezhko

While surfing through one Internet journal, I found an interesting article listing the most successful ideas created by women that later turned into incredibly practical inventions. Some people sarcastically criticize inventions by women. However, to no purpose! Most of the ideas are unbelievably down-to-earth. They are created to increase the comfort of the daily routine, as well as to make a woman even more beautiful.

Among the best known inventions of women are backpack-kangaroo for caring babies around, robot-vacuum cleaner iRobot, prototype of Wi-Fi, silicone, aramid fiber or Kevlar, method to improve the quality of photos through radioactive materials (later used in NASA and X-ray technologies).

A special attention should be addressed to Finnish ladies who have significantly contributed to the global society through their unique inventions. Finland is one of not many European countries where there is an association of women-innovators (QUIN-SUOMI ry) established in 2001 by Maila Hakala. In general, the unions of inventors and innovators have existed for many decades. However, the main members of these unions still remain to be men. As in many other countries, in Finland innovation ideas of women were hardly criticized and not taken seriously. Therefore, the main purpose of QUIN-SUOMI is to help women-innovators in promotion of ideas and their implementation into real life. Recently, European Union has started emphasizing a special attention to the development of innovations among women. European Union Women Inventors & Innovators Network (EUWIIN) was created. This organization stimulates knowledge exchange in the area of intellectual property, supports the development of new ideas among women, creates bridge between invention and business, and helps in funding. Once in two years EUWIIN organizes a competition on the best innovation by women. Each time Finnish women actively participate in this competition.

Construction materials out of textile wasteAino Heikkinen

During the first EUWIIN conference in Berlin in 2007, Aino Heikkinen, engineer from Finland won the main award for developing TexCem technology that processes textile waste and combines it with micro cement. The referees of the competition were surprised by Aino’s creativity of a new idea as well as her entrepreneurial method of the implementation of a new construction material in building budget houses in the developing countries, or countries that were victims of the natural disasters.

Textile waste creates a severe problem on the global level. According to the active legislation, the textile waste cannot be utilized through burning. Textile waste must be recycled back to the raw materials and re-used in industrial processes. TexCem is a unique solution to the existing problem. TexCem developed a special method to create construction material that contains minimum amount of cement, which is substituted by recycled textile waste. The final product fits with all up-to-date requirements and has the number of opportunities to be utilized in the construction or design. Another advantage of TexCem is a simple method of industrial production and utilization of micro technologies.

Easy birth giving with the help of Relaxbirth

In 2009 Helsinki hosted the second EUWIIN competition. Again the winner of the competition was Finnish midwife Eija Pessinen. She developed a revolutionary system of obstetrics Relaxbirth System, which helps during the delivery process not only a woman and an infant, but also medical personnel. Eija Pessinen worked in one of the most undeveloped countries of Central America, Nicaragua, in 1987-1988. Wars and embargoes on the external help resulted in a constant shortage of fuel, water, instruments, medicine and disinfection materials. Eija was traveling from village to village and was providing vaccination to the local inhabitants. In Nicaragua she noticed and understood the importance of the utilization of the natural human body’s reactions.

Eija Pessinen and her innovative approach to birth-givingEija was working as a midwife in one of the local hospitals. There she was teaching local midwives, who in their turn had own methods of obstetrics traditionally developed and passed from generation to generation. When Eija was teaching, she learned herself a lot. She observed how local midwives controlled the process of delivery. They listened to baby’s heartbeat without special equipment, but only using their ears and hands.
Later, Eija continued her studies in England. This time she was studying marketing. Degree in Economy and experience provided her with courage to develop the innovation and turned it into real idea.

The Relaxbirth method became very popular in Finland. It received many positive feedbacks. Relaxbirth is an innovative and ergonomic method of the birth-giving process. During the delivery a woman is sitting in a vertical position and is holding her hands on special hangers where she can put her stress and bear down correctly.

Finnish women continue participating in different competitions in order to bring the best innovations to the society’s benefit.

Sources: Forbes Woman (9th of June, 2012); Mosaiikki #2 (74) 12.

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