We believe equality can be achieved everywhere
Why such a prize and why in Finland?
Gender equality is a core value for Finland. It has been essential in shaping and defining the way we have built our nation to achieve the success of today. Because 2017 was Finland’s 100th anniversary of independence, the Government decided this year would offer an excellent opportunity to establish the first International Gender Equality Prize.
The prize will be awarded to a person or organisation that has advanced gender equality in a globally significant way. The recipient will not be awarded the prize money; instead, they will identify a cause to which the prize money will be granted. In 2017 the prize money totals EUR 150,000 and will be financed using development cooperation appropriations.
We Finns are deeply proud of our achievements in gender equality. Because Finland has been a frontrunner in gender equality for over a century now, we see this award as a way to champion gender equality efforts worldwide.
There are many organisations and individuals making important strides in advancing gender equality around the world. Our hope is that this prize will help in these efforts. We also want to further promote discussion about gender equality in a global context.
How it works
The prize was established by the Government of Finland as part of Finland’s centenary celebrations. The prize is awarded based on the recommendation of an independent prize jury. The prize will be awarded in cooperation with the City of Tampere.
The prize money does not go to the recipient; instead, the recipient gives it to a cause that meets the criteria set for development cooperation funding. This way we can ensure that the prize will be used to advance the position of women and girls.
This year the composition of the jury is: Paulina Ahokas, chair and managing director of Tampere Hall, Pekka Timonen, General Secretary for the Centenary and Rosa Meriläinen, author and researcher.
The prize will be awarded once every two years.
The prize ceremony takes place in Tampere
For the first time the prize was awarded in a ceremony organised in March 2018 in Tampere, Finland. At the same time the cause to which the prize money will be assigned, selected by the prize recipient, was announced.
Thanks to mainly female-dominated manufacturing industries and an active women’s movement, Tampere has a strong tradition in gender equality and women's participation in society. Back in 1905, around 40,000 people assembled in Tampere Central Square to demand equal voting rights, which were then introduced the very next year. Tampere has also taken the lead in promoting the wellbeing of women and families. As early as 1840 there was already a school in Tampere that had both male and female students.
Tampere plans to be known for gender equality in the years to come too. Minna Canth, a renowned Finnish 19th-century female author, aptly observed: ‘Naiskysymys ei ole ainoastaan naiskysymys vaan ihmiskunnan kysymys’, which roughly translates as: ’Women's issues are not just women's issues, they are humanity's issues.’
The prize also implements the 2030 Agenda on its part
The International Gender Equality Prize is a concrete way for Finland to implement the 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals. The 2030 Agenda consists of 17 main goals, one of which is to achieve equality between men and women and to enhance the rights and opportunities of girls and women.
In September 2015, the UN Member States agreed on the universal Sustainable Development Goals and action programme and it is effective until 2030. The objective of the 2030 Agenda action programme is to steer global development onto a path where human welfare and human rights, economic prosperity and stable societies can be secured in an environmentally sustainable manner, and extreme poverty is eradicated.