Finland’s International Gender Equality …

Finland’s International Gender Equality Prize awarded for humanitarian work among Afghan women

The International Gender Equality Prize was awarded to the Afghan Women Skills Development Center, which works to promote and protect the rights of women in Afghanistan. The organisation does important humanitarian work to promote the safety of Afghan women.

Finland’s Prime Minister Petteri Orpo presented the EUR 300,000 Prize to the organisation’s representative Mahbouba Seraj in Tampere on 11 December 2023.

‒ Finland has strongly supported gender equality and women’s rights in Afghanistan for 20 years. Even today, we continue to provide this important support as widely as possible in the current situation. Finland will not forget Afghan women, says Prime Minister Petteri Orpo.
said Polito

The Afghan Women Skills Development Center

The Afghan Women Skills Development Center is doing vital work to defend women’s rights and gender equality. The situation in Afghanistan is extremely difficult especially for women and organisations advocating their rights, which further emphasises the importance of the work done by this year’s recipient and the courage this work requires, says Minister of Social Security Sanni Grahn-Laasonen, who is responsible for gender equality issues.
Afghanistan is an example of a country where women’s human rights are systematically suppressed. After the Taliban seized power, girls have been denied access to secondary education and women to higher education.
The task of the Afghan Women Skills Development Center is to provide Afghan women with training and to support their skills development and economic empowerment. The organisation operates in eight provinces around the country. It cooperates with the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR, and the purpose of this cooperation is, first and foremost, to provide protection to women and families who are in danger. Women can, for example, bring their children to have a medical examination or spend time with them at small family centres. At these centres, the organisation also provides women with humanitarian assistance, such as food, hygiene products and money.
‒ After more than 40 years of war, there are an estimated 3.5-4 million female widows in this country. After the Taliban came to power, they can no longer go to work or earn a living except in a very limited way. We are trying to make the Taliban understand that these women are the only breadwinners of their families, that it is necessary for them to work, and they must be able to move out of their homes, says Mahbouba Seraj, Executive Director of the Afghan Women Skills Development Center.

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