Combatting violence against women together

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 6.3.2018 15.47
Combatting violence against women together

In December last year, Prime Minister Juha Sipilä announced the recipient of the International Gender Equality Prize. The prize goes to Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel in recognition of her career and her commitment to women and girls globally.

Today at Tampere Hall the prize money will be awarded to the organisation SOS Femmes et Enfants Victimes de Violence Familiale, the cause chosen by Chancellor Merkel.  The organisation is combating violence against women and children in Niger.

There could not be a better cause to receive the prize money. Reducing violence against women is one of the key targets of Finland’s equality policy. A lot has happened since Finland ratified the Istanbul Convention of the Council of Europe in 2015: the appropriations for shelters for victims of domestic violence were increased considerably, a 24/7 helpline for victims of domestic violence and their families and friends was launched, and a low-threshold support centre was established for victims of sexual violence. The funding for shelters has been increased by 52 per cent during the current government term alone (EUR 11.55 million in 2015 and EUR 17.55 million in 2018).

It is important to have a global perspective on gender-based violence. Finland has been advocating the UN resolution on Women, Peace and Security for a long time already to reinforce women’s participation and the gender perspective in crisis management and conflict prevention, among other objectives. War, too, has gender-based consequences.

We in Finland know this from our own experience. One hundred years ago, Finland was a poor country fighting a civil war. Violence was commonplace, and even women and girls bore their share of the cruelties of war. Today, we – and our affluent Finland – have the obligation to promote gender equality and non-violence across the globe. It is the reason why we created the International Gender Equality Prize. It is also the reason why we gather here in Tampere to celebrate our global collaboration to promote the rights of women and girls.

Annika Saarikko
Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services
Gender equality matters