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Press Releases, 10/10/2017 | Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

Finland’s development cooperation supports girls' rights across the world

Press release 175/2017                                                                                                    9 October 2017

“Girls all over the world belong to school,” reminds Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Kai Mykkänen on the eve of the International Day of the Girl Child. Improving the position and rights of girls and women is among the key goals of Finland’s development policy. This week, the theme shows in Finnish cinemas, too.

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Girls' rights are also supported by Kuura Janhunen, Antti Korpelainen, Sonja Huttunen and Katri Ylinen, who represent the Finnish Agenda 2030 Youth Group. Photo: Liisa Takala.

“Girls across the world deserve to have the same opportunities to attend school and to embark on a good career as all boys of the world. Girls with education are less likely to marry as a child or get pregnant in their teens, and this also reflects in the productivity of work and economic growth,” says Minister  Mykkänen.

Improving the position and rights of girls and women is among the key goals of Finland’s development policy. Wednesday 11 October marks the International Day of the Girl Child. To honour the day, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Finnkino will provide Finnish cinema-goers with a dose of girl energy. A video produced by the international Global Goals campaign, ”What I Really Really Want”, will be screened in all Finnkino cinemas of the country prior to films. A new version of Spice Girls’  hit video from 1996 features, for example, young Bollywood stars.

“It reflects girls' own courage and active role as defenders of human rights.  As Finland's Youth Delegate to the UN I visited for instance Eritrea, where I met local girls and discussed with them the importance of education for young women like us. Finland is known as a reliable defender of gender equality across the world and I’m proud to be able to be involved in this work,” says Sonja Huttunen from a network of young people promoting Agenda 2030 in Finland.

Girls to school, women as decision-makers in Nepal

Last year, Finland channelled approximately EUR 50 million to projects focusing on gender equality and EUR 250 million to projects which had gender equality among the main objectives. The majority of the support is directed to girls’ education and actions strengthening sexual and reproductive health and rights in Finland’s partner countries.

Development cooperation projects aiming to improve the position of girls and women have produced good results in Nepal, for instance, where Finland has supported the education sector and girls’ schooling on a long-term basis. At the moment, over half of the girls in Nepal enrol in secondary school.

“Girls’ education and their capacity to participate in developing their societies play a key role in the attainment of the UN sustainable development goals. It is both right and also economically wise that girls go to school,” says Minister Mykkänen.

Nepal's new Constitution, which was adopted recently, has markedly increased women’s possibilities of political participation and, for example, 40% of the members of district committees.are now women. Finland has supported UN Women, which has organised training and courses for women to familiarise them with the opportunities provided by the new Constitution. As a result, many of those who have attended the training stood for candidacy and became elected in the local elections of this year.

Inquiries: Eija Palosuo, Communications Officer, tel. +358 295 351 961

Gender equality took a leap forward in Nepal

The rights of women and girls in Finland's development policy (pdf):

The Foreign Ministry’s email addresses are in the format

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Updated 10/10/2017

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