On 2nd December, the winners of the International Gender Equality Prize 2019 were announced in our twin city in Finland. Equality Now was awarded the accolade for its work over the last 25 years. The organisation is committed to abolishing laws that discriminate against women and to creating laws that prohibit female genital mutilation and child marriages. The first recipient of the prize, which is awarded every two years by the Finnish government in association with UN Women and the city of Tampere, was Angela Merkel in 2017. Equal Opportunities Officer Pia Hamann, EU Co-ordinator Pia Sachs and Eva Gräfer from the Chemnitz2025 bid office all attended the awards ceremony in the twin city on behalf of the city of Chemnitz. “In Finland, they are much more concerned than we are about consciously directing politics and the administration towards gender equality on all levels. From the perspective of an Equal Opportunities Officer especially, such a clear focus would be desirable here, too,” states Pia Hamann, who also used the trip as an opportunity to establish contacts for the Equality Symposium to be held in the city of Chemnitz for International Women’s Day 2020.

The second day for the delegation from Chemnitz focused on equality as well. Tampere has a long tradition of promoting gender equality, and Finland was the first country in Europe to grant full suffrage to women in 1906. This is why the issue of equality also forms the basis of the city of Tampere’s bid for the title of European Capital of Culture. Tampere 2026 organised a conference entitled Hän – Equality, Culture and Women. Among other things, the event included a presentation of the results of the structured dialogue on the topic of equality as part of the Voices of Culture initiative by the European Commission and the European cultural sector. In addition, the delegation from Chemnitz also met with artists from our twin city in Finland and with the Tampere 2026 team to discuss the opportunities for cooperation as part of the two cities’ European Capital of Culture bids.