CSW65: National Statement by Finland delivered by Minister for Nordic Cooperation and Equality, Mr. Thomas Blomqvist
The sixty-fifth session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is taking place from 15th to 26th of March, 2021.
Chair, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Finland aligns itself with the statement made by the European Union.
So far, our attempts to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls as set out in the 2030 Agenda have not been sufficient. While the COVID-19 pandemic affects all of us, its impact has been, and still is, more severe on women and girls, particularly on groups in vulnerable settings, such as women and girls with disabilities and gender minorities.
The only way to make sure that we build back better, greener and more gender equal after the pandemic, is to place women and girls at the center and forefront of our recovery efforts and to step up our work to eliminate gender-based violence. We need a systemic transformation from grassroots to global level.
And it must be emphasized, that a woman or a girl can only be fully active participant in the society, when she has the access and knowledge needed to make decisions concerning her sexual and reproductive health and rights. This includes comprehensive sexuality education. Bodily autonomy is essential to the empowerment of women and girls and to the fulfillment of their rights.
In Finland, our current government composition is historical, we have more women as ministers than men. However, we still have significant work to do in order to reach full gender equality. My government has recently published both a Gender Equality Action Plan as well as an Action Plan for Combating Violence against Women. As a strong supporter of the Council of Europe Istanbul Convention, my Government actively promotes wide ratification and efficient implementation of the Convention. We are also conducting a study on the impact of COVID-19 on gender equality. Our fourth National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security will also be prepared this year. Furthermore, Finland supports a broad variety of women’s organisations, women human rights defenders and broader civil society as a way to strengthen the participation of women and girls.
Gender equality is one of Finland’s long-standing foreign policy priorities. We have a strong partnership with UN Women whose work and leadership is more important than ever. Last year, Finland became the largest contributor of core support to UN Women.
Finland is committed to taking the global gender equality agenda to the next level. In the groundbreaking Generation Equality process, Finland is a proud co-leader of the Action Coalition on Technology and Innovation. Our vision is to bridge the gender digital divide, empower women and girls as designers of gender-responsive technologies, and to create safe and inclusive digital spaces to enable women and girls to use their voices. Online gender-based violence and harassment is a real threat to democracy because it jeopardizes women and girls’ participation in the society. The pandemic has further highlighted the impact of these issues.
The Finnish Government has established the International Gender Equality PrizeLink to another website. to encourage discussion about gender equality on a global scale. In 2021, the prize will be awarded, for the third time, to a person or organization that has advanced gender equality in a globally significant way. Gender equality is also one of the priority themes in our campaignLink to another website. to join the Human Rights Council for the term 2022-24.
We must accelerate our efforts to empower women and girls in all their diversity and ensure that they are at the core of decision-making. With less than ten years to reach the sustainable development goals, there is no time to waste.