Born in 1844 in Finland, Canth began writing while living as a widow and raising seven children. She began her career as a journalist and later went on to publish her own daily, Wapaita Aatteita.
One of the first female authors to write in Finnish than Swedish, Canth's first book which is a collection of short stories titled "Novelleja Ja Kertomuksia" was published in 1878.
Her most famous play remains "Tyomiehen vaimo" where she talks about urban labour and life. Some of her other famous works are "The Pastor's Family" and "Anna Liisa". Her literary works brought up contemporay social issues related to women and their rights and freedom of expression. She also actively supported in paving way for Finnish women to become the first country in Europe to win voting right.
To mark her birth anniversary, Finland celebrates this day every year as the Day of Equality. Canth is also the first woman to receive her own 'flag day'.