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Prime Minister Sanna Marin's speech at the Generation Equality Forum

Government Communications Department
Publication date 29.3.2021 17.47

Prime Minister Sanna Marin spoke at the Generation Equality Forum. Virtual forum is held in Mexico 29.-31.3. Prime Minister Marin spoke in the session discussing women’s leadership 29.3.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased to be speaking at this event. I would like to thank Mexico, France and UN Women for organising this Generation Equality Forum. I am delighted to see the strong presence of young people here. You are the force for change in all societies. I also welcome the important role given to the private sector.

Gender equality is a high priority for Finland. We believe that a strong society is inclusive, equal and respectful of human rights. 

Women’s full and equal participation in society has made Finland’s development possible. A hundred years ago, Finland was a poor and conflict-torn society. It was not possible for us to ignore the potential of half of our population. Women’s participation in building our society and in political decision-making has been strong for many decades.

Gender equality does not just happen. It requires political will and bold decisions. One example is the provision of high-quality day care at a reasonable cost. In Finland, the education system promotes equal opportunities and inclusion for all. High-quality education is accessible and free. It sees strength in diversity.

Gender equality is a key component of a successful democracy. Women are powerful agents of change for democracy and human rights. 
A society based on equality provides equal opportunities for everyone. However, Finland, like all countries, still has to work to improve gender equality. 

Today, we need action more than ever before. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected women and girls around the world in a dramatic way. In many countries, there is a risk that girls will not return to school. Gender-based violence has increased. Female poverty is on the rise. In our recovery from the pandemic, building back better and building back equal will not be possible without the voices and leadership of women and girls.

We must guarantee women’s participation and leadership in society. Online and offline violence against women and girls, especially those in public and political life, cannot be tolerated. Online gender-based violence is a threat to democracy at large. Harmful gender stereotypes must be addressed. They limit the choices of women and girls, but also those of men and boys. Women and girls in vulnerable situations, such as those with disabilities and those belonging to ethnic minorities, face specific barriers. 
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Gender equality is a long-standing priority for Finland’s foreign policy. Finland is a proud co-leader of the Generation Equality Action Coalition on Technology and Innovation for Gender Equality. We want to see technology and innovation make the world a better place for women and girls. 
Finland is a candidate for the Human Rights Council for the 2022–2024 term. If elected, we will be a clear voice advocating for women’s rights in the work of the Council. 

This Forum is an excellent opportunity to hear diverse voices. Concrete actions are needed if we are to make change. We must stay united and work together against any attempt to question or weaken gender equality and women’s and girls’ rights, including sexual and reproductive rights. It is through bold, game-changing actions and collaboration that we can achieve a truly gender-equal world. 

I would like to thank Mexico for hosting this event. I wish you all a successful meeting.