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UNCCD:n naistenpäivän paneelin avaussanat

Presidentti Halonen piti aloituspuheenvuoron UNCCD:n kansainvälisen naistenpäivän paneelissa, jonka teemana oli sukupuolten välinen tasa-arvo kestävässä kehityksessä.


Dear friends, dear fellow Land Ambassadors and dear young Land Heroes.

I am honoured to discuss with you today on International Women’s Day

Gender inequality is one of the biggest challenges in sustainable development. The consequences of the climate crisis disproportionately affect women and girls. And, women still continue to be largely missing from the decision making tables.

Growing inequality is a threat that we simply cannot afford. If we fail to tap women’s potential in this urgent situation, we are jeopardizing our common future.

We must ensure that women have equal opportunities to participate and lead in building sustainable future for all.

Equality also means recognizing the richness of diversity. That is what we need in the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss. Women have special knowledge and experience that can be used in creating and adopting sustainable practices.

For example, we cannot rely solely on the development of technological solutions, but we also need to deepen our understanding of the individual and social dimension to put these solutions into practice. Women’s ability to listen is key to the latter.

Dear friends,

Norman Borlaug, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, once said that “you can’t build peace on empty stomachs”. Women in rural communities know the linkage between peace and food, as they play an important role in ensuring food security in households.

In some cases, women are the majority, such as small farmers in Africa and Asia. However, only 14% of agricultural landowners are women.

This needs to change, as women’s participation in food production planning and decision-making is a critical prerequisite for equality. Education can be a significant way to achieve this.

Workforce in different sectors is still quite strongly divided by gender in Finland as well. This is especially the case in male-dominated technology and IT sectors and in female-dominated health care and educational sectors.

However, in Finland, the faculty of Agriculture and Forestry is attracting more and more applicants, and today more than half of the faculty’s students are women.

The role of women in Finland’s sustainable food transition has been enormous, as, for example, two of the most significant vegetable protein innovations have been developed by women.

To conclude, gender equality cannot be treated in isolation from environment. It is a prerequisite for sustainability.

We must also not forget gender sensitivity.

I look forward to discussing with you!