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The number of immigrants in Finland is growing, and increasing contacts with other religions in recent years have increased the Finns’ knowledge of them, although there is still much to be desired in their tolerance for people with different religions and cultures.There is a high degree of equality between the sexes in Finland, as can be seen in the relatively high number of women holding advanced positions in politics and other areas of society.He (or she) considers verbal agreements and promises binding, not only upon himself but upon the other party too, and he (or she) considers that the value of words remains essentially the same, regardless of when and where they are uttered.

The conception that Finns are a reserved and taciturn lot is an ancient one and does not retain the same validity as it used to, certainly not with the younger generations.

Nevertheless, it is fair to say that Finns have a special attitude to words and speech: words are taken seriously, and people are held to what they say.

The first female Finnish bishop in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland is Irja Askola. Chauvinistic or patronizing attitudes towards women are generally considered unacceptable, although such attitudes do persist in practice.

Women do appreciate traditional courtesy, although ultimately they appraise men on the basis of their attitude towards equality.

As the Chinese proverb puts it, “Your speech should be better than silence, if it is not, be silent.”Finns have a very strong sense of national identity.

This is rooted in the country’s history – particularly its honourable wartime achievements and significant sporting merits – and is today nurtured by pride in Finland’s high-tech expertise. Finnish customs and manners are clearly European, with only a few national variations, and attitudes are liberal.There is very little chance of a visitor committing fundamental social gaffes or breaches of etiquette that would fatally damage relations between himself and his hosts.It is difficult in Finland to make or break a reputation with a single social blunder.Finland is a country where considerable weight is attached to the spoken word – words are chosen carefully and for the purpose of delivering a message.In international contexts, or when using foreign languages, particularly English, Finns have become accustomed to politically correct language in which traditional masculine terms are replaced with gender-neutral ones (e.g.