"Education Key To Women's Uplift"

Anne Sipiläinen, Under Secretary of State of Finland, was recently in Kathmandu to take part in a seminar on Electoral System and Women's Representation in Nepal: Need for Reform. She spoke to New Spotlight on her visit and Finland's support to Nepa

March 9, 2014, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol: 07 No. -17 Mar. 07- 2014 (Falgun 23, 2070)

As Finland is one of the leading countries in terms of empowering women and ensuring gender equality, how did you like your participation at the seminar here?

This is an extremely important subject. The seminar organized here is also important for bringing a change in women's status and their participation. Our country has a long history of women's struggle. I am proud to say that the Parliament of Finland became the first parliament in the world to give women the right to not only vote, but to run for offices as equal since 1906. Nepalese parliamentarians, civil society members and others can learn from the experiences of Finland. This way the seminar was important.

How do you assess the support of Finland?

We have been supporting Nepal in quite different fields and gender and women is one of the issues. In all development and political perspectives of the country, women need to be given their due consideration.  As education is the key to empower women, Finland Government has been supporting Nepal's education sector for quite a long time. Finland and Nepal have longstanding cooperation in education sector because this is an important area. We are now supporting women and civil society organizations as both are very important in Nepal's development process.

More on Finnish support to Nepal?

Our cooperation with Nepal is very special and associated with the poor and marginalized communities. We are enjoying this a lot. It is not only development cooperation but the cooperation to uplift the livelihood of the people living in rural parts of Nepal. Finland has a very deep feeling towards Nepalese people and our links with the people of Nepal have been long standing. One of the important parts of our support to Nepal is that we have been trying to reach out to the most vulnerable and poor people. We are satisfied with the results from out projects, particularly in education, water and sanitation.  Our projects are making big differences.

What is the upcoming development strategy of Finland to Nepal?

Finland will continue to provide support to Nepal. Our support will continue in education, water and sanitation.  We want to support Nepal in the gender, rules of law, governance and such kinds of projects which will increase the capacity of institutions.

You came here just a few months after the completion of the elections of CA, what is your impression?

This is extremely important moment in Nepal. I am very much impressed by the process going on in Nepal. Everything looks very right for now. This is the right opportunity for Nepal to achieve its people's aspirations.

As a woman minister from Finland who is very much in favour of women's rights, what message do you have for Nepal?

Education is the key for the all-round development of women. My suggestion is for women to be active as much as possible and to establish their right.


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