portrait image of Hilkka Pietilš

Hilkka Pietilš

M.Sc., UNA of Finland 1963-1990, Independent writer and researcher

Hilkka Pietilš is born in a small farm of her parents in a Finnish country village in the 1930s, when Finland was primarily an agrarian country. She had two younger brothers in the family. Her ancestors have been living on farming in the same village at least for 500 years.

It was natural for her to subscribe into the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry of Helsinki University 1950. She studied nutrition, microbiology and household economics for the degree on household sciences, which she completed in 1956. She wanted to combine the academic studies and the practical experiences gained in the traditional farming and household at home in Finnish rural living. This has been the baseline in her life-long learning.

Within her lifetime Finland has been transformed from a fairly poor agrarian country into a wealthy welfare society of the Nordic pattern. Living through such historical transformation in her country she has gained insight into the political, economic and social processes of development also in wider perspective. From early on she was interested in international issues and was seeking her way to many international events in various countries within the years.

Her major employment was in the Finnish UN Association as Secretary General in 1963-1990. In this work she learned a lot of the global situation on her field nutrition, as well as on development problematics both globally and locally. She has written several books, hundreds of articles and given innumerable lectures about the United Nations, international cooperation, development, human rights, women's issues and a number of other subjects.

She has participated in many UN conferences and events, among them all four of the UN World Conferences on Women in Mexico City 1975, Copenhagen 1980, Nairobi 1985 and Beijing 1995. In addition she has also been following the evolving new interdisciplinary approaches in research like peace, development and women research, future studies and feminist economics by attending the international conferences and events in these fields.

Within the years she has also been active in several national and international women networks, which have critical approach on international politics, development ideas and globalization of neoliberal economics. In several decades she has developed a new holistic picture of human economy composed of three components such as cultivation economy, households and commercial/industrial economy.

She resigned from the UN Association in 1990 in order to gain more control over her time and life and has thereafter continued her work on the UN and other international issues, voluntary activities and literary work as freelancer.