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Equality Now awarded Finland’s International Gender Equality Prize for changing discriminatory laws

The Government of Finland awarded Equality Now the International Gender Equality Prize on Monday 2 December 2019. The prize, which was awarded for the second time, was presented for our work in changing discriminatory laws and practices around the world. In 2017, the Government of Finland’s International Gender Equality Prize was awarded to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Finland’s Minister for Nordic Cooperation and Equality, Thomas Blomqvist, presented the award to Equality Now’s Global Executive Director, Yasmeen Hassan, in the city of Tampere, Finland. Yasmeen was joined by Global Director of Programmes, Niki Kandirikirira, Europe/Eurasia Director Jacqui Hunt, and Africa Director, Faiza Mohamed.

Antti Rinne, the Prime Minister of Finland who has made gender equality a priority policy area for his government, said of the award:

“Gender equality has been a conscious political decision that has made Finland one of the most successful countries in the world on many levels. We believe it helps societies to succeed. With the help of the prize, Finland wants to bring about actions that will accelerate progress for gender equality around the world.” 

Equality Now commends the Finnish Government for recognizing the importance of gender equality and creating the prize. Equality Now’s Yasmeen Hassan said of the award:

“Equality for women and girls is the solution to some of the biggest challenges the world is facing today – peace and security, poverty eradication, and climate change. In addition to being the right and just thing to do, it is also the smartest investment for humanity.” 

Finland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Chair of the prize jury Pekka Haavisto said of Equality Now:

“The main obstacles to progress in global gender equality are negative attitudes and structures. Discriminatory laws and practices still exist in all countries of the world. The effectiveness of Equality Now lies precisely in its ability to change laws and harmful practices.”

Nominated by an Equality Now activist (thank you!), the Prize Jury (which also included Katja Iversen, President/CEO of Women Deliver, Dean Peacock, Senior Advisor for Global Advocacy at Promundo and Eva Biaudet, MP and Chair of the National Council of Women of Finland) chose us from among 300 nominees, in recognition of our significant and high-impact work on women and girls rights. Citing our collaborative advocacy work to change laws and shift gender norms locally, nationally, regionally, and internationally to achieve gender equality. The prize money of EUR 300,000 will help support our campaigning work on sex discriminatory laws. 

Read more on Finland’s Gender Equality Prize or explore photos from the event