President Tarja Halonen received on 4th March the Jeane J. Kirkpatrick award in Washington, DC. It was presented by the Women’s Democracy Network at the International Republican Institute in conjunction with the International Women’s Day. The Award recognizes honorees for their commitment to increase women’s political and civic participation within their own communities and on behalf of women worldwide. The award was presented to President Halonen for her outstanding contribution to the advancement of gender equality and women’s empowerment in politics and civil society by Cindy McCain, the honorary chairwoman of the Women’s Democracy Network Council. McCain praised President Halonen’s work and stressed the importance of hearing and knowing about individual and country specific success stories from around the world in order to encourage and empower women and girls.
In her acceptance remarks President Halonen highlighted the significance of the year 2015, ”as the world community will be determining at the UN the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda for the next 15 years. The SDG Agenda should be very clear particularly on the role and status of women and girls. Gender equality is of course a matter of justice, but it is also a smart economic investment”, she continued. President Halonen also raised the issue of sexual and reproductive health and rights as very important to empowering women and girls.