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International community must work for gender equality

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
Publication date 29.5.2017 10.08

Finland has made much progress in gender equality work. Our long history in promoting women's rights goes back to 1906 when Finland became the first country in the world to grant women full political rights.

Finnish defenders of gender equality have encouraged and demanded measures to support it. Dialogue between NGOs and researchers has been active for decades. Since the beginning of parliamentary work, women MPs across party lines have cooperated to promote the status of women and the work is continuing in Parliament and among NGOs. Today also many men are involved in the work.

The international community has given a lot to Finland. Many important legislative reforms and programmes on gender equality have their roots in international arenas. The United Nations and the European Union have greatly influenced Finland's gender equality and non-discrimination policy. They have required us to take many crucial measures, such as to eradicate violence against women.

To promote equality and to celebrate Finland’s 100 years of independence, the Finnish Government launched this year an International Gender Equality Prize.

The announcement on the prize was made by Prime Minister Juha Sipilä at the equality festival in Tampere on International Women's Day.

With the international prize Finland wants to bring the discussion on gender equality into spotlight again. 

Many rights that are considered self-evident today, such as sexual and reproductive health and rights, are not very popular on international forums.

So it is only natural that Finland should be the first in the world to establish an international prize that will be awarded to a distinguished advocate and defender of equality.

The award will highlight the fact that the whole international community needs to work for gender equality more persistently than ever and set an example so that gender equality is achieved.

Finland wants to contribute to this work.

Juha Rehula
Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services
Gender equality matters


The Finnish Government took a decision to establish the International Equality Prize to celebrate Finland's 100 years of independence. The prize will be awarded for the first time in the autumn of 2017. This year’s prize will be EUR 150,000.

The public, both in Finland and abroad, are welcome to propose candidates for the prize for the competition jury to consider. The proposals may be sent to by the end of May.

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