Turkish NGO wins Finnish Gender Equality Award | New

Representatives of We Will Stop Femicide accepted the price of 300,000 euros in Tampere on Monday.

We Will Stop Femicide founders Fidan Ataselim (left) and Gülsüm Önal accepted the award in Finland on Monday Image: Antti Eintola / Yle

We Will Stop Femicide, a Turkish NGO dedicated to combating violence against women, received Finland’s 2021 International Gender Equality Prize on Monday.

The price (siirryt toiseen palveluun), which was first established by the Finnish government in 2017, is awarded to an individual or organization that has “significantly advanced gender equality globally”. This year’s prize was worth 300,000 euros.

Gülsüm Önal and Fidan Ataselim, founders of the We Will Stop Femicide platform, received the Prime Minister’s award Sanna Marin in Tampere on Monday. It was the third time that the Finnish government presented the prize.

“I am very happy to receive the award on behalf of women who are fighting for their lives,” said Önal, who is also the president of the organization, at the ceremony.

Önal said it was “empowering” that women’s struggles in Turkey were recognized by the international community. She added that it was particularly an honor to be congratulated by a country like Finland, known for promoting gender equality and women’s rights.

Önal also underlined the crucial role of international support in empowering women around the world who struggle against inequalities.

Prize money to fund NGO activities

The Finnish government awarded the prize on the basis of a presentation by an international jury. The jury included Finnish MPs Eva Biaudet and Bella forsgrén, former Prime Minister of Finland Matti Vanhanen, dean peacock, director of the initiative of the International Women’s League for Peace and Freedom to fight militarized masculinities, and Melanne Verveer, Executive Director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security at Georgetown University.

“This award is a way of showing our strong support for courageous human rights defenders, who strive to make women’s rights a reality and to fight violence against women,” said Biaudet, president of the jury, in a statement.

According to Önal, the 300,000 euros received by We Will Stop Femicide will go directly to funding the platform’s activities, which include providing legal aid and support to the families of murder victims, lobbying for changes in legislation and to train women in their rights.

The group says it will also use the money to expand its operations in cities across Turkey.

According to Biaudet, the jury wanted to draw attention to the dramatic increase in violence against women around the world during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Turkey’s situation is deteriorating

The jury also selected the We Will Stop Femicide platform to highlight the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, more commonly known as the Istanbul Convention. .

Turkey chose to withdraw from the convention, which uses a legal framework to protect women from violence, earlier this year in July. The move sparked protests across the country.

Turkey has seen a steady increase in gender-based violence since the creation of We Will Stop Femicide in 2010. According to Ataselim, the organization’s general secretary, 2011 turned out to be the only exception, as it was the year of the signing of the Istanbul Agreement.

The Covid-19 crisis has apparently made matters worse. “It has been difficult for women to get help during the pandemic. While there was talk of helplines and support organizations, these were overwhelmed by other related issues. pandemic, “Ataselim revealed.

“Women had to choose between facing the threat of the virus or asking for help,” she added.

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