In recent years, there has been backlash around the world towards gender equality and women’s and girls’ rights. The backward values and the challenges to the international rule-based system are also on the rise in Europe. Finland is often seen as a gender equality pioneer and there are excellent gender equality goals written in the new governmental programme. Therefore, the Finnish organizations wanted to challenge the Finnish ministers to explain what concrete steps they had taken to promote gender equality during Finland’s EU Presidency. 

Gender equality must not remain just an agenda for the Minister for Gender Equality, but it must be in the agenda of all ministers.  During the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Finland had a unique opportunity to influence the EU’s policy when the new Parliament and the Commission began their work. In the campaign #EU4Equality, 11 Finnish NGOs challenged ministers to explain how they promote a more equal world when Finland holds the EU Presidency.

The organizations made their own recommendations, which were sent to all Finnish ministers and their advisors. The reception was very positive: the recommendations were thanked by the decision-makers for their clarity and a total of nine Finnish ministers joined the campaign. In the social media, the campaign posted the responses of the ministers as well as the recommendations of NGOs. Only in Fingo’s social media channels, the campaign reached total of 80 000 people in Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

#EU4Equality -campaign

Ministers

CSOs

Reach on social media

The ministers’ responses illustrate how gender equality should be taken into account in every aspect of society. Ministers promoted equality in areas such as the economy, culture, social policy, labor and climate policy. In their replies, several ministers stressed that gender equality had long been an important priority for Finland. The Finnish NGOs hope that Finland will continue to pursue a stronger gender equality policy and gender mainstreaming in the EU.

EU development ministers noted last autumn that while many countries around the world are seeing positive developments, the trend is bleak: no country seems to achieve gender equality by 2030. Therefore, achieving equality requires continuous work both nationally and internationally. 

Webpage of the campaign: https://www.fingo.fi/eu-puheenjohtajuus/tasa-arvokampanja (only in Finnish).

Text: Anne Peltonen

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