The 61st session of the Commission on the Status of Women ends this week at the UN. The two week session brought together thousands of government and civil society representatives from around the globe. The main theme this year was the economical empowerment of women in a changing world of work. Other widely discussed topics included the empowerment of indigenous women and violence against women. The many side events and panel discussions might have been the most fruitful part of the session.
Finland was represented by a large delegation including members of parliament, representatives of the Sami parliament, ministries and civil society organizations. The delegation was led by Minister of Health and Social Affairs, Ms. Pirkko Mattila.
– Gender equality is one of our core values in Finland. We were the first to grant full political rights to women. Because 2017 is Finland's 100th anniversary, the government decided to establish the first international gender equality award as a means toward establishing a new voice and platform to advance gender equality around the world, minister Mattila said in the speech at the General Assembly.
The representative of the Sami parliament, Anne Nuorgam, was attending the Commission for the first time, yet she found a lot of familiarities in the conversations.
– Beforehand I thought I might not be familiar with the themes discussed, but this feels very familiar to a woman living in Finland. That’s good – it means, that Finnish people are talking about the right topics, Nuorgam says.
As a Sami woman, Nuorgam finds it very important, that the voices of indigenous women are heard and that they can also have impact. Indigenous women often are the guardians of culture, language and history, who also teach the traditions to new generations.
– All over the world the representatives of indigenous peoples talk of same things: education in their own language and the rights to land and water. Also violence against women rises up in the conversations.
The 12th Helvi Sipilä –seminar was organized jointly by the Permanent Mission of Finland to the United Nations, the Finnish Federation of Graduate Women, the National Council of Women in Finland, the Coalition of Finnish Women’s Associations – NYTKIS, Finland National Committee for UN Women and the Young Women’s Christian Association of Finland YWCA. The title of the seminar was Empowered Futures - Sustainable economies.