Finland's government has announced a new award, the International Gender Equality Prize, to be given to a person or group every two years for the exceptional promotion or defence of gender equality. The prize will be handed out for the first time next autumn.
The prize – worth 150,000 euros – was launched at an equality-themed fête in Tampere on Wednesday (International Women's Day) and ties in with Finland's year-long centenary programme. The prize is meant to help develop discussions on gender inequality and will be awarded for the first time in the autumn.
"For over 100 years, Finland has been a pioneer of gender equality," Prime Minister Juha Sipilä said at the launch. "Ours was the first nation in the world to grant women full political rights. So it is only natural that Finland should be the first country in the world to establish an international prize that will be awarded to a distinguished advocate and defender of equality."
The public is free to suggest people or organisations who they think should receive the prize for their work. This year the jury is composed of Paulina Ahokas, chair and managing director of Tampere Hall, Pekka Timonen, General Secretary for the Centenary and Rosa Meriläinen, author and researcher.
The Government of Finland will award the prize in cooperation with the city of Tampere.