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Thomas Blomqvist, Minister for Nordic Cooperation and Equality:
In order to advance gender equality, we need international cooperation and a comprehensive review of legislation

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
Publication date 2.12.2019 17.21
Press release 152

“To ensure girls’ and women’s active and equal participation in society, the right laws and legal frameworks need to be in place.” Thomas Blomqvist, Minister for Nordic Cooperation and Equality, said in his speech at the reception of the International Gender Equality Prize award ceremony on 2nd December 2019 in Tampere, Finland.

“Although laws are drafted nationally, the international community can also play an important role. This was for instance the case in Finland, when the Equality Act was drafted in the 80’s, to comply with the CEDAW Convention.“

Global women’s rights organisation Equality Now received the International Gender Equality Prize for its work for gender equality. Equality Now has been able to change more than 50 discriminatory laws during its 27 years of operation.

“In order to advance gender equality, we need to review legislation as a whole. As we have learned today, legislation can be discriminatory against women and girls in many ways. This is why we need organisations, such as Equality Now, to point out injustices, and to push society and politicians to do more and to do better.” said Blomqvist.

“Next year marks 25 years since the revolutionary Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and 20 years since the adoption of UN Resolution 1325. In a couple of months, we will review what has happened in the past twenty-five years at the meeting of the UN Commission on the Status of Women. But more importantly, we will look into the future, and what next steps need to be taken for a more equal world.”

Blomqvist reminded that it is very important to link the Beijing Platform for Action with the Sustainable Development Goals. “It is certain, that we will not meet the goals without gender equality. For this too, we need the firm co-operation of the international community.”

Minister Blomqvist also emphasised sexual and reproductive rights. “Without the right to decide over their own body, and access to reproductive health services, women and girls cannot fully enjoy their other rights. As already discussed, we are even seeing some worrying development on this area today. We need to stand firm and united for women’s and girls’ right to their bodies.”

“One of the cornerstones of our progress on gender equality here in Finland, has been a comprehensive sexual education and the woman’s right to choose if, when, and how many children she wants. This has been a prerequisite for women to fully participate in the labour market, earn their own income, and thus gain economical independence.”

“This is also why we wanted to launch the International Gender Equality Prize. By raising awareness and discussions on gender equality, we can achieve more, both at home and globally. With the Prize, we want to contribute to this, and recognise the hard work behind each success.” concludes Minister Blomqvist.


Anna Abrahamsson, Special Adviser to the Minister for Nordic Cooperation and Equality, tel. +358 295 150 029, [email protected]
Silja Borgarsdóttir Sandelin, Special Adviser to the Minister for Nordic Cooperation and Equality, tel.  +358 295 150 116, [email protected]
Tanja Auvinen, Director, Gender Equality Unit, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 295 163 715, [email protected]

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