Finnish Government’s International Gender Equality Prize goes to Chancellor Angela Merkel

14.12.2017 19.42 | Published in English on 14.12.2017 at 19.55
Press release 594/2017
Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Juha Sipilä. Photo: Juha Roininen

On 14 December in Brussels, Prime Minister Juha Sipilä announced the first-ever recipient of the International Gender Equality Prize introduced by the Finnish Government. The prize goes to Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany in recognition of her long-standing work as a defender of human dignity and human rights and commitment to women and girls globally.

"Chancellor Angela Merkel has become one of the world’s most influential people and is an example to many women and girls", says Prime Minister Juha Sipilä.

Equality is a core value for Finland, which is celebrating 100 years of independence.

"Ours was the first nation in the world to grant women full political rights in 1906. Through this prize, we want to strengthen appreciation for gender equality in other countries around the world too", Prime Minister Juha Sipilä notes.

"Let me say that I am very proud that I am the recipient of this prize and let me use this opportunity yet again to congratulate Finland on its 100th anniversary. I would also like to congratulate Finland on your very strong stance on women’s rights. You introduced women’s rights at a very early point in time. I will honour this prize and it will also serve as an encouragement to me to continue to work for promoting gender equality, because there is still a lot that remains to be done", Chancellor Angela Merkel said in Brussels.

The prize, established by the Government of Finland, amounts to EUR 150,000. The recipient assigns the money to a cause they have chosen that strengthens the position of girls and women. The prize money is financed from Finland’s development cooperation appropriations.

The cause chosen by Chancellor Merkel will be announced in Tampere in a high-level seminar on gender equality in early 2018. The event is organised in cooperation with the City of Tampere.

The Government presented the prize to the recipient based on a proposal made by an independent jury. This year the composition of the jury is: Paulina Ahokas, (chair) Managing Director of Tampere Hall, Pekka Timonen, General Secretary for the Centenary and Rosa Meriläinen, author and researcher.

Reasons for the award

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s life work has made her one of the world’s most influential people and an example to many women and girls. By breaking through the glass ceiling, Merkel has shown that women can rise to the top ranks of society.

In her position as Chancellor, Merkel has brought gender equality to the agenda of world leaders at summit meetings. She has worked to improve the rights and opportunities of women especially in developing countries.

In Germany, her aim is to achieve genuine equality in society between men and women, which means for instance making it easier to reconcile work and family life.

She has always stood up for human dignity and human rights under the pressure of international challenges. She is also a strong believer in European values – a true European leader and role model.

Inquiries: Riikka Pakarinen, Special Adviser (EU Affairs), tel. +358 40 580 0833, Jorma Korhonen, Senior Adviser for International Affairs, tel. +358 295 160 410, and Peter Westerstråhle, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 295 160 193, Irina Haltsonen, Communications Specialist +358 50 468 3744, Prime Minister’s Office.

Photos available for media use in the Government Flickr account 

A recorded high resolution webcast available for media use on the event on Council webpages 

A video summary of the first International Gender Equality Price recipient, Chancellor Angela Merkel

More information on the International Gender Equality Prize 

Social media identifier for the prize #IGEP

Press releases in other languages: Auf Deutsch , en français

Juha Sipilä
European Council
The centenary year of Finland’s independence
development cooperation
international relations
jubilee years
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