UN Women’s 5-year Generation Equality campaign (2021-2026) promotes the rights of women and girls and gender equality 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. It was launched in Paris in summer 2021 at a high-level forum.
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 and gender equality 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 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
Intersectionality, which refers to factors affecting the social position of individuals alongside gender, is a crosscutting theme in the work of each Action Coalition. In their concrete work, the Action Coalitions pay special attention to young women and girls. In addition to the Action Coalitions, the campaign includes a separate Compact on Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action(Link to another website.).
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, and the organisations Global Fund for Women, Social Builder and Digital Grassroots.
It is easy to find a link between Finland’s lead role in the Action Coalition and Finland’s long-term national and international gender equality objectives and Finland’s development policy priorities across parliamentary terms. Finland is known in the world as a country at the leading edge of gender equality, education, technology and innovation, and the lead role in the Action Coalition offers Finnish actors with opportunities to be at the forefront in international contexts.
When used correctly, technology and innovation can promote gender equality. Technology can create new opportunities for education, employment and participation for different people. Gender equality can be promoted effectively when technology and innovation are deliberately harnessed to breaking harmful gender stereotyping. However, technology also enables phenomena that undermine gender equality, such as gender-based online violence, which must be resisted actively.
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
States, companies, UN agencies, foundations and civil society organisations have made concrete commitments towards achieving the objectives of the Action Coalition on Technology & Innovation for Gender Equality. 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(Link to another website.)). In addition, Finland has made commitments to the objectives of two other Action Coalitions: the Action Coalitions on Gender-Based Violence and the Action Coalition on Bodily Autonomy and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). In addition, Finland has joined the joint climate commitment of the Nordic Council of Ministers. All commitments are listed in the Annex at the bottom of the page.
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 already joined the campaign by making their own commitments. Those interested in the campaign are warmly welcome to join 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. Read more about how to make a commitment here(Link to another website.) and view a list of all commitments here(Link to another website.).
Sustainable change is effected through collaboration. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs warmly invites organisations and companies to join in the campaign.
Outcomes of Finland’s effort to promote gender equality in technology
Gender equality and digitalisation are key themes in Finland’s foreign policy and development policy. Finland wants to work towards making gender equality part of technology and innovation and, similarly, making technology and innovation part of gender equality work.
Finland has made nine commitments to the objectives of the Action Coalition on Technology & Innovation for Gender Equality. The commitments focus on preventing and eradicating gender-based online violence, achieving a more balanced gender distribution in science and technology, increasing gender perspective in technology investments, and bridging the digital gender divide.
Finland’s first report on the implementation of its commitments was issued in summer 2022. Finland reported having funded gender equality in technology cooperation projects across the world with about EUR 17 million in 2021. Finland’s funding is used to create decent work for women that harnesses new technologies, to advocate digital mediation, digital safety of women human rights defenders and to promote digital literacy of women and girls in developing countries. Finland’s support to the UN’s innovation activities help reinforce the UN’s capacity to harness technology and innovation to promote gender equality. In 2021, Finland allocated about EUR 40 million to its commitments on sexual and reproductive health and rights.
The development financier and impact investor Finnfund invested USD 20 million in 2021 towards the interface between technology & innovation and gender equality. This sum will reach USD 60 million by 2026.
Finland has allocated funding towards guidelines for organising innovation competitions to renew gender structures. It has emphasised the importance of gender equality in technology in different events, communications and international forums. For example, Finland organised a side event on gender-based online violence during the UN Human Rights Council’s session in summer 2022. The European Parliament has a friendship group on gender equality in technology that was founded by Finland.
Promoting a safe internet for all, women and girls included, was one of Finland’s priorities as chair of the Freedom Online Coalition (FOC) in 2021. Finland chaired the negotiations on the Helsinki Declaration on the FOC’s future that acknowledges the threat of online violence to gender equality.
Finland’s National Action Plan for Combating Violence against Women (2020–2023) emphasises the importance of addressing digital violence. The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare developed a training module on recognising and intervening in gender-based online violence. The Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture is carrying out a number of different projects to bridge the gender divide in natural sciences, mathematics and technology.
The Foreign Ministry is coordinating a Generation Equality advisory group to promote gender equality in technology. The group has representatives from the public and private sectors and from civil society. UN Women Finland and Plan International Finland are coordinating a Generation Equality Youth Task Force to give young people a voice in the process.
UN Women issued the first Generation Equality Accountability Report(Link to another website.) during the UN high-level week in September 2022.
Tel. +358 44 4938961
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- Generation Equality Forum website(Link to another website.)
- Action programme of the Action Coalition co-led by Finland (PDF, 2 110 KB)(Link to another website.)
- Finland’s Generation Equality commitments (PDF)
- Link to commitments platform (Link to another website.)
Other content on this site:
Country Manager in technology business: “Distortions can be rectified to make artificial intelligence more equitable” (News, 7.3.2023)
Finland supports gender equality in technology (News, 22.9.2022)
Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ The Algorithm for Gender Equality –campaign (Opens New Window)