Statement by President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö for the High-Level Meeting on the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women, 1 October 2020

President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö making a virtual statement for the High-Level Meeting on the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women, 1 October 2020. Photo: Riikka Hietajärvi/The Office of the President of the Republic of Finland

Mr. Secretary-General, Mr. President,

Thank you for convening this high-level meeting at such a crucial point in time.

We are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the most progressive document ever on the rights of women and girls. But this year also marks 20 years since the UN Security Council Resolution on Women, Peace and Security was adopted, and 10 years since UN Women was established.

These achievements, as well as the objectives we have set ourselves on gender equality in Sustainable Development Goal number five, are widely acknowledged. And progress has been made in several areas that were prioritized in Beijing – access to education, women’s health and well-being, and women’s political representation and participation.

However, the work is by no means complete. I am alarmed by the ongoing attempts to challenge women’s and girls’ rights, including sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Today, we are at a crossroads. We must think of new ways to make sure that gender equality goes forward, not backward.

Finland continues to work actively on the national implementation of the Beijing Platform. Finland is a leading nation, not only in gender equality, but also in education and digitalization.

In the global Generation Equality campaign, we will combine these strengths. As a co-leading country in the Action Coalition on Technology and Innovation our vision is to bridge the gender digital divide. We must harness technology and innovation to improve the lives of women and girls, in normal circumstances as well as in crisis situations.

In order to have a more sustainable future, the world has to become more gender equal. As a long-time HeForShe Impact Champion, I am committed to this task.