WINDHOEK, 26 NOV – This year, the Government of Finland is awarding its International Gender Equality Prize for the third time. This year’s winner is the We Will Stop Femicide Platform, an organisation that does groundbreaking work to combat violence against women in Turkey and whose work has a global relevance.
Prime Minister Sanna Marin presented the EUR 300,000 prize to Gülsüm Önal, Founder, President and General Representative of the We Will Stop Femicide Platform, and Fidan Ataselim, Founder and Secretary General of the organisation, at a prize gala in Tampere on 22 November 2021.
“Promoting gender equality worldwide requires effective actions and determined work. The International Gender Equality Prize recognises and raises awareness about this work, and also contributes to the promotion of gender equality globally,” says Sanna Marin. The World Economic Forum index shows that Finland is the world’s second-best country for gender equality.
“With this prize, we aim to showcase the role of gender equality as a cornerstone of sustainable development, but we also want to draw attention to how much work still needs to be done,” says Thomas Blomqvist, Minister for Nordic Cooperation and Equality.
Granting this year’s prize to the We Will Stop Femicide Platform provides an opportunity to generate wider public discussion beyond Turkey’s borders.
“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, who are endeavouring to make women’s rights a reality and fighting violence against women. By awarding this year’s prize to the 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-19 pandemic. The jury also recognises 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 for preventing and addressing violence against women. Furthermore, the work of the Platform has universal significance, as violence against women is a serious problem everywhere, including in Finland,” says Eva Biaudet, Member of the Finnish Parliament and Chair of the IGEP Jury.
The We Will Stop Femicide Platform has been working 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 murdered women, and advocates for changes to legislation to protect women.
The Platform’s actions have made penalty reductions more difficult to obtain and led to deterrent sentences.
“We have done what has needed 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 like Finland that promotes women’s rights is also a source of pride for us,” say Gülsüm Önal and Fidan Ataselim from the 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); Member of Parliament Bella Forsgrén (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, who 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 global women’s rights organisation Equality Now, a global non-profit organisation that has succeeded in changing discriminatory laws and ingrained practices in various countries.