Finland’s International Gender Equality Prize goes to combating violence against women
The Government of Finland awards the International Gender Equality Prize now for the third time. This year's prizewinner is We Will Stop Femicide Platform, an organisation that does groundbreaking work combating violence against women in Turkey and whose work has a global relevance.
Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin handed out the 300,000-euro prize to Gülsüm Önal, Founder, President and the General Representative of We Will Stop Femicide Platform, and Fidan Ataselim, Founder and Secretary General of the organization, in Tampere on 22 November 2021.
"Promoting gender equality worldwide requires effective actions and determined work. The International Gender Equality Prize recognizes and raises awareness of this work and also contributes to the promotion of gender equality globally," says Sanna Marin. External link shows Finland is the world’s second-best country for gender equality.
"With this prize, we showcase the role of gender equality as a cornerstone of sustainable development, but also how much work still needs to be done," says Thomas Blomqvist, Minister for Nordic Cooperation and Equality.
Tampere has been the partner city of the Finnish government from the beginning.
“The prize brings into spotlight the people who fight for gender equality. It is important to increase confidence and bring faith to people who doubt whether major improvements in gender equality are possible at all. They are, and this prize and the winners remind us all of that", says Anna-Kaisa Ikonen, the Mayor of Tampere.
Awarding the We Will Stop Femicide Platform provides a chance to generate wider public discussion beyond the borders of Turkey.
"Gender equality and the rights of women and girls are an important part of Finland's foreign and security policy. This prize is one way of showing our strong support to brave human rights defenders, endeavouring to make women’s rights a reality and fighting violence against women. By awarding We will Stop Femicide Platform, the Jury wanted to draw attention to the scourge of violence against women, which has dramatically increased in all countries during the COVID pandemic. The Jury also recognizes the courageous work of the Platform in promoting the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, better known as the Istanbul Convention, which is the most important international legal instrument to prevent and address violence against women. Furthermore, the work of the Platform has universal significance as violence against women is a serious problem everywhere, also in Finland", says Eva Biaudet, Member of the Finnish Parliament and Chair of the IGEP Jury.
We Will Stop Femicide Platform has been striving to stop femicide and ensure women's protection from violence since 2010. The Platform provides legal assistance to women who want to be safe from violence, is involved in cases of violence against women and femicide with its lawyers and representatives, supports the families of the murdered women, and drives changes to legislation to protect women.
Thanks to the Platform's actions, penalty reductions have become more difficult and deterrent sentences have been attained.
"We have done what had to be done and what everyone should do. The fact that the fight in our country has been seen by the international community gives us great strength and happiness. The award coming from a country that promotes women's rights like Finland is also a source of pride for us," say Gülsüm Önal and Fidan Ataselim from We Will Stop Femicide Platform.
Over 400 proposals from all over the world were submitted for consideration for the award during the open nomination period. The Government of Finland made its decision based on the proposal by an independent international jury.
The jury included Eva Biaudet (chair), a well-known human rights activist and former Minister of Health and Social Services (Finland); Bella Forsgrén a Member of Parliament (Finland); Dean Peacock, Director of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom's initiative to confront militarized masculinities (South Africa); Matti Vanhanen, former Prime Minister and Speaker of Parliament (Finland); and ambassador Melanne Verveer, executive director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security at Georgetown University (United States).
In 2017, the Government of Finland’s International Gender Equality Prize was awarded to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. She directed the prize money to a Nigerien organisation that works to stop domestic violence. The organisation is using the funds to build a shelter for women.
In 2019, the prize went to a global women’s rights organisation Equality Now, a global non-profit organisation, which has succeeded in changing discriminatory laws and ossified practices in different countries.
Text Aila Rajamäki