UN Women’s 5-year Generation Equality campaign promotes the rights of women and girls globally. The aim is to accelerate especially those gender equality objectives that have suffered from slow global development. Finland holds a lead role in the Action Coalition that focuses on technology and innovation.
The campaign is coordinated by UN Women. It brings together states, companies, UN organisations, civil society, foundations and youth representatives. It was launched in 2020, the year that marks the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action. The campaign was initiated by Mexico and France. Launched in Paris in summer 2021, it will run until 2026.
The promotion of gender equality is one of Finland's foreign policy priorities. Finland has provided both political and financial support to UN Women and promoted women's rights in the organisation’s Executive Board for a long time. The Generation Equality campaign offers Finland an opportunity to reinforce its role as a frontrunner in advancing gender equality.
Themes of the campaign
In the past 25 years, headway has been made in the implementation of the Beijing Action Plan on Women's Rights for example as regards girls’ education, but progress in other areas has not been as smooth and steady. In many sectors in society and the economy, special efforts are required, and such topical phenomena as digitalisation and the COVID-19 pandemic have widened the gender gap.
The campaign’s six Action Coalitions concentrate on specific thematic areas. In the next five years, the aim is to implement sustainable, global systemic changes in their selected thematic areas.
The themes are:
- Gender-based Violence
- Economic Justice & Rights
- Bodily Autonomy and Sexual & Reproductive Health & Rights (SRHR)
- Feminist Action for Climate Justice
- Technology & Innovation for Gender Equality
- Feminist Movements & Leadership
Women, peace and security as well as intersectionality, which refers to factors affecting the social position of individuals alongside gender, are cross-cutting themes in the work of each Action Coalition. In their concrete work, the Action Coalitions pay special attention to young women and girls as well as to the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Finland as Action Coalition Leader
Finland is a leader of the Action Coalition on Technology & Innovation for Gender Equality together with Tunisia, Armenia, Chile and Rwanda. The Generation Equality Forum is based on a multi-stakeholder approach, which means that each Action Coalition is led together by companies, foundations and civil society representatives. Other members of the Action Coalition on Technology & Innovation are the United Nations
Children's Fund (UNICEF), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Microsoft, Salesforce and Koç Holding, the Rockefeller Foundation, the <A+> Alliance network, the Global Fund for Women, and Social Builder organisations.
It is easy to find a link between Finland’s lead role in the Action Coalition and the gender equality entries in Finland’s current Government Programme and Finland’s development policy priorities. Finland is known in the world as a country in the leading edge in gender equality, education, technology and innovation, and the lead role in the Action Coalition offers Finnish actors opportunities to be at the forefront in international contexts.
The Action Coalitions published their action programmes at the Generation Equality Forum, which was held in Mexico City in March 2021. The Action Coalition on Technology & Innovation for Gender Equality focuses on four concrete goals:
- Bridging the gender gap in digital access and competences
- Investing in Feminist Technology and Innovation
- Building Inclusive, Transformative and Accountable Innovation Ecosystems
- Preventing and Eliminating Online and Tech-facilitated GBV and Discrimination
Finland considers it important that the Action Coalition pay special attention to women and girls with disabilities. Finland emphasises the impact of social innovations on gender equality.
Commitments to promote gender equality
To achieve the goals set by the Action Coalitions, states, private companies, foundations and civil society actors make concrete commitments, the first of which were announced at the Paris Generation Equality Forum in July 2021. By the Paris Forum, more than a thousand operators had made commitments, and the monetary value of these commitments was USD 40 billion. Commitments can be made throughout the five-year campaign.
Finland has made thirteen commitments to the campaign, nine of which focus on promoting the objectives of the Action Coalition on Technology & Innovation for Gender Equality, which is co-led by Finland. Three of these commitments have been made in cooperation with other Coalition members (including UNICEF and D4D hub). The overall monetary value of Finland’s commitments to the campaign is approximately EUR 150 million.
A number of Finnish organisations, companies and other actors have joined the campaign by making their own commitments. Those interested in the campaign are warmly welcome to the campaign as Commitment Makers. Commitment Makers undertake to promote at least one of the four goals of the Action Coalition that they support for at least one year at a time.
Sustainable change is effected through collaboration. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs warmly invites organisations and companies to join in the campaign.
Equality supports the economy
According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), women’s participation in working life explains as much as 10–20 percent of the Nordic countries’ economic growth in the past fifty years. Within individual companies, the impact of gender equality on economic growth is even stronger.
It has been estimated that at the current pace, reaching gender equality in the global economy will take more than 267 years. In accordance with the European Commission and the World Economic Forum, the technology sector is an example of an area where gender equality is seriously lagging behind. There is scientific proof that, in the long term, a low number of women and girls in workplaces deteriorates growth prospects and leads to less innovative activity.
The Generation Equality campaign offers an opportunity to accelerate the change. At the same time, the leading role in one Action Coalition of the campaign opens up an opportunity for Finnish companies to present their technological expertise, share experiences and develop their international competitive capacity for the benefit of an equal and sustainable world.
Generation Equality Forum website(Link to another website.)
Action programme of the Action Coalition co-led by Finland (PDF)(Link to another website.)
Finland’s Generation Equality commitments (PDF)
Link to the commitment platform(Link to another website.)
Other content on this site:
Finland’s global equality measures published in Paris (News, 1.7.2021)