The Activities and Events of the Mimmit Koodaa Program (Women Code Program) are transforming the world. The program actively dispels the myth that the IT industry is exclusively for men or those with exceptional mathematical abilities. By encouraging women and individuals seeking new career paths, the program provides solutions to address the significant shortage of skilled employees in the IT sector. It aims to familiarize them with the field and its abundant work opportunities.

Thanks to the Mimmit koodaa program, we are progressing towards a world where future generations have equal rights to pursue education and achieve success, regardless of their gender or background.

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Every company needs IT skills

In today’s technology-driven world, IT skills have become indispensable for every company. With computers being pervasive and international competition growing fierce, businesses must continuously adapt and evolve to thrive. Recognizing this need, the Software Finland Association has been a steadfast representative of Finnish software companies for over 30 years and now offers exceptional IT training for business managers.

Over the years, the IT sector has revealed a gender disparity. To address the demand for new specialists and foster diversity in the industry, the association founded the Mimmit Koodaa program. This initiative not only supports the development of the IT sector but also contributes to the creation of high-quality software.

The program is a way for the association to help the IT sector develop and also to contribute to the creation of quality software.

Why is the Mimmit koodaa program needed?

The inception of the program traces back to a single contact request. Vlada Laukkonen, recognizing the high demand for coding skills in her workplace, took it upon herself to learn coding. In 2018, she reached out to the Software Finland Association, seeking assistance in acquiring new skills and organizing business visits. Laukkonen’s request served as a wake-up call, indicating the need for additional efforts beyond the association’s regular activities.

Milja Köpsi, who was part of the association at the time and currently leads the Mimmit Koodaa program, identified a significant issue: the lack of diversity in the IT sector. For many women, the realm of IT seemed unfamiliar and distant.

In response to this problem, the idea of bridging the gap between women and the IT sector emerged. Thus, in 2018, the Mimmit Koodaa program came into existence.

The world of IT feels strange and distant for many women.

Women are breaking the stereotypes and prejudices

Prior to the program’s official launch, the Software Finland Association and Milja Köpsi organized hands-on workshops in collaboration with eight prominent companies: Codemate Oy, Futurice, F-Secure, IBM, Knowit, Microsoft, Wunder, and 2NS.

To our surprise, word quickly spread, and soon there were hundreds of women eagerly lining up to participate in the workshops. This overwhelming response served as undeniable proof that the demand for such a program far surpassed our initial expectations.

The workshop experience, coupled with the association’s questionnaire, reaffirmed what was already known: the IT sector was burdened with pervasive stereotypes and prejudices, discouraging women from pursuing careers in the field and making them feel like outsiders. Furthermore, there was a dearth of role models and examples to inspire women to explore the IT sector.

These challenges became the catalyst for the Mimmit koodaa program. Its core mission became dismantling stereotypes surrounding the IT sector and coding. Above all, the program aims to convey the crucial message that coding is accessible to everyone, irrespective of their gender or background.

I learned about a topic that interested me but which wasn’t very familiar to me. I got excited about really learning about coding and I seriously started to think about my opportunities in this sector.

Nomination from supporting equality

In 2018, almost 1000 workshop days and two launching events were organized by the Mimmit koodaa program. Already then there were a huge number of women participating in the program as 3500 women had joined. Some of Finland’s main media companies like Yle, Helsingin Sanomat, Kauppalehti, and MTV were talking about the program.

The Mimmit koodaa program was awarded with the Program of the Year prize in Mesoaja Gaala 2019. In Mesoaja Gaala, the best of the fair and event professionals are awarded based on their effectiveness and strength.

In December 2019, the European Economic and Social Committee awarded the Mimmit koodaa program with the EU’s equality prize. EU Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen warmly congratulated the program:
‘The EU needs equality just as much as Finland. The Mimmit koodaa program is an example of how concrete results can be achieved. This is about cooperation between women thriving for change and companies offering possibilities in the IT sector. And this cooperation’s attraction has proven to be very great. I’m glad that Finland is showing the way on how equality and well-being go hand-in-hand.’

In 2019, the Mimmit koodaa program had already gathered 5000 women to start coding. Fourth place among almost 200 applicants is a really wonderful achievement and most of all it is one step closer to a more equal future.

#MimmitKoodaa program is an example of how concrete results can be achieved.” -Jutta Urpilainen

Events were taken online

In spring 2020, the Mimmit koodaa program had to adapt its routines due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. Previously, workshops were conducted in person, allowing participants to meet face-to-face. However, the circumstances called for a change. Fortunately, the program embraced this shift and transitioned events online. This led to the emergence of numerous engaging online events, including the ongoing Friday webinars.

One of the program’s most significant events, initiated during the pandemic, was a virtual experience called “This Is Not a Webinar.” It was a unique live event, filmed in a studio and streamed directly to women’s screens, offering an interactive experience that went beyond a traditional webinar.

This virtual event revolutionized event organization, as it necessitated significant changes in production. Professional production companies were involved in delivering captivating speeches, and the event featured virtual company stands, networking opportunities, and engaging discussions.

Mimmit koodaa program’s virtual event has been arranged every six months since 2020. We had more than 1000 participants in every event. And still it is said that women are not interested in coding?
Eeva-Jonna Panula.

The President handed out the first Mimmit koodaa prize

The years 2020 and 2021 marked significant milestones in the journey of the Mimmit koodaa program. In the Women In Tech 2020 competition, Milja Köpsi was recognized as the most influential advocate for equality. The judges acknowledged Köpsi’s remarkable work, stating:

‘Coming from a humble background, Milja has emerged as a champion for thousands of women who have never received support or encouragement to pursue studies or careers in technology. Her story is a classic example of ‘you can do it.’

In spring 2021, Eeva-Jonna Panula made history as the first recipient of the prestigious Mimmit koodaa prize. The award ceremony held great significance, with President Tarja Halonen personally presenting the prize.

Panula’s outstanding contributions have played a vital role in advancing the program’s goals. She has served as an inspiring example to the Mimmit koodaa community, sharing her knowledge as an educator and a supporter,’ President Halonen remarked while presenting the prize.

Rasmus Roiha, the CEO of the Software Finland Association, emphasized that the Mimmit koodaa prize represents an important milestone for the entire software industry.

"Find yourself a community, the kind of environment where you can find help for concrete problems but also peer support. This is why the Mimmit koodaa program is so important. I want to help the program to be able to operate as the community that creates a safe space for learning and growing as a coder.” Eeva-Jonna Panula

North Karelia project is born

In spring 2021, the Mimmit koodaa program launched its inaugural local project in North Karelia. The overwhelming interest from women in the region led to long queues of hundreds of individuals eager to participate in the local workshops. In response to this demand, we sought a local solution, thus giving rise to the North Karelia project.

The project aligned with North Karelia’s provincial program, Pohjois-Karjalan maakuntaohjelma (POKAT 2021), with a focus on education and knowledge enhancement. It aimed to support the education of local women and enhance their IT expertise. Women in North Karelia were provided with free and easily accessible training in software development, along with peer support and networking opportunities within their own Mimmit koodaa community. Additionally, the project collaborated closely with companies and schools in North Karelia to foster the growth of future IT experts.

Mimmit koodaa – the North Karelia project bridged the gap between the IT sector and local women. It demonstrated that ordinary individuals work in the IT sector, which offers a broad spectrum of career opportunities beyond coding. The project aimed to convey the message that coding and software development can be learned by anyone, regardless of their background or life situation.

Moreover, the project contributed to enhancing the area’s appeal. It showcased that North Karelia understood the technology sector and boasted enthusiastic future IT professionals who would play a crucial role in addressing the severe employee shortage within the industry.

After a successful journey, the North Karelia project concluded in spring 2023, leaving a lasting impact on the participants and the local community.

“Inspiring speakers and great working life information from the field. Excellent evening, warm welcome and an inspirational and bubbling team spirit formed quickly. -Feedback from the project event

IT sector is of interest – The program reaches already 10 000 women

Since its inception, the Mimmit koodaa program has experienced remarkable growth and expansion. Currently, in collaboration with its company members, the program organizes numerous free events, training sessions, and showcases inspirational examples of women thriving in the IT sector.

Over the past years, thousands of women have had the opportunity to participate in workshops, webinars, and IT events tailored specifically for them. According to a survey, the Mimmit koodaa program has successfully transformed women’s perceptions of the IT sector, making it more attractive and accessible. The program has facilitated networking opportunities with companies in the industry and has influenced women’s educational choices and career plans, benefiting the entire IT sector.

With a broad nationwide network of approximately 70 organizations, including schools, IT companies, and various other stakeholders, the program has established strong collaborative partnerships. However, the true strength of Mimmit koodaa lies in its vast nationwide network of thousands of women. In the year 2021, the program reaches an impressive number of 10,000 women throughout Finland!


Year 2022

The Mimmit koodaa program achieved recognition by winning an esteemed prize from the Nordic Diversify Blaze Awards in August 2022. The program was honored as the best in Finland’s Catalyst category, which signifies its remarkable efforts in promoting diversity, participation, and community.

Additionally, the second season of the podcast ‘Teknologiapolkuja,’ created in collaboration with Accenture, was released and garnered significant success, finding a dedicated audience.

Moving forward, the program’s activities will continue, partly transitioning to online platforms, allowing for broader outreach across Finland. Here are some numbers from the year 2022:

  • Over 80 events were organized.
  • Nearly 6,000 individuals participated in these events.
  • The program established partnerships and collaborations with 21 organizations, involving over 50 different companies.

The accomplishments and figures from 2022 demonstrate the program’s dedication to empowering and engaging a wide range of individuals throughout the country.

Susanna Kyllönen.

The second Mimmit koodaa prize to the founder of Twig the Code

In 2022, the second Mimmit koodaa prize was presented, and this time it was awarded to Susanna Kyllönen, an IT developer at Mehiläinen.

Susanna Kyllönen’s journey into the IT sector is an inspiring example of a career change. After working in marketing and restaurant roles, she sought stability and engaging tasks, which she found in the software industry. Kyllönen took the initiative to study programming independently and also pursued courses at a university to further enhance her skills.

Kyllönen’s passion for the industry and her dedication to achieving shared objectives have earned her the prestigious Mimmit koodaa award in 2022. As the founder of Twig the Code association, she actively encourages more women to venture into the world of coding and software development. The association provides training programs and a supportive community to facilitate their entry into the field.

“Just go for it! Anything can be learned with enough persistence,” encourages Susanna Kyllönen, serving as an inspiration to aspiring coders and developers.

Susanna Kyllönen ja kolmannen Mimmit koodaa palkinnon saanut Ursula Koski.

Ursula Koski honored with the third Mimmit koodaa prize for advancing community career opportunities

Ursula Koski has played an instrumental role in nurturing the knowledge and skills of women interested in the IT field within the community. She has provided personal support, encouragement, and valuable input in numerous workshops, as well as other educational materials and services that have helped participants attain certifications.

Ursula’s compassionate, relatable, and warm-hearted nature shines through her interactions. She is dedicated to empowering and expanding opportunities for minorities in the tech industry. Through this recognition, we express our gratitude to Ursula for the inspiring example she has set.

An honorable mention was also given to Outi Väättänen from Ericsson. Although Outi hasn’t yet graced the Mimmit koodaa stage, her diligent work behind the scenes has made a significant impact. She has developed study paths and organized events for our community, actively encouraging her colleagues to participate in Mimmit koodaa activities, leaving no stone unturned in her efforts.

Sonja Hyrynsalmi.

Mimmit koodaa Makes an Impact

Mimmit koodaa has been operating from 2018, with over 10,000 participants in our program. In 2018, we set out to break the harmful and ethically unsustainable perception of the software industry as a male stronghold, which has been detrimental to both our society and our industry suffering from a shortage of skilled professionals.

In the fall of 2023, we conducted a comprehensive survey of our community (with over 500 respondents), which helped us explore participants’ experiences in the program, among other things.

Based on the responses we received, we have debunked the myth that women are not interested in technology: Not only do 90% of the program’s participants find the program useful, but also 10% of them have found employment in the software industry.

Reetta Siltasalmi-Kautto

Glitter and a Pink Tesla

The “Mimmit koodaa” award for 2024 has been awarded to Reetta Siltasalmi-Kautto in recognition of her determined advocacy work to encourage women in the IT industry, as well as to promote gender equality and increase diversity. Siltasalmi-Kautto is an engineer who has worked in the field for 15 years, and pursuing a career in IT has been her goal since childhood.

Despite being an engineer with 15 years of experience in the field and aiming for an IT career since childhood, finding her own place in a male-dominated industry has required determined effort and persistent perseverance. To share information about the opportunities in the IT industry and the various career paths it offers, Siltasalmi-Kautto currently runs a YouTube series called “Hyppää Pinkkiin Teslaan” featuring both experienced professionals and newcomers.

Read Reetta’s interview >>


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