On 14 December in Brussels, Prime Minister Juha Sipilä announced the first-ever recipient of the International Gender Equality Prize introduced by the Finnish Government. The prize goes to Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany in recognition of her long-standing work as a defender of human dignity and human rights and commitment to women and girls globally.
‘Chancellor Merkel has become one of the world’s most influential people and is an example to many women and girls,’ says Prime Minister Juha Sipilä.
Equality is a core value for Finland, which is celebrating 100 years of independence.
‘Ours was the first nation in the world to grant women full political rights in 1906. Through this prize, we want to strengthen appreciation for gender equality in other countries around the world too,’ Prime Minister Juha Sipilä notes.
The prize, established by the Government of Finland, amounts to EUR 150,000. The recipient assigns the money to a cause they have chosen that strengthens the position of girls and women. The prize money is financed from Finland’s development cooperation appropriations.
The cause chosen by Chancellor Merkel will be announced in Tampere in a high-level seminar on gender equality in early 2018. The event is organised in cooperation with the City of Tampere.
The Government presented the prize to the recipient based on a proposal made by an independent jury. This year the composition of the jury is: Paulina Ahokas, (chair) Managing Director of Tampere Hall, Pekka Timonen, General Secretary for the Centenary and Rosa Meriläinen, author and researcher.
Reasons for the award
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s life work has made her one of the world’s most influential people and an example to many women and girls. By breaking through the glass ceiling, Merkel has shown that women can rise to the top ranks of society.
In her position as Chancellor, Merkel has brought gender equality to the agenda of world leaders at summit meetings. She has worked to improve the rights and opportunities of women especially in developing countries.
In Germany, her aim is to achieve genuine equality in society between men and women, which means for instance making it easier to reconcile work and family life.
She has always stood up for human dignity and human rights under the pressure of international challenges. She is also a strong believer in European values – a true European leader and role model.