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The Embassy of Finland recognizes director Katerina Suvorova as a champion of gender equality in Kazakhstan in an International Women’s Day event organized by the Embassy and UN organizations.

The Embassy of Finland recognizes director Katerina Suvorova as a champion of gender equality in Kazakhstan in an International Women’s Day event organized by the Embassy and UN organizations.

On 8 March, the world celebrated International Women’s Day. The following day, the Embassy of Finland in Nur-Sultan, together with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and UN Women in Kazakhstan organized a virtual event titled “Generation Equality – Realizing Women’s Rights in Everyday Life” to foster dialogue on gender equality, break down gender stereotypes and highlight champions of gender equality in Kazakhstan.

The event was opened by Ambassador of Finland, Soili Mäkeläinen-Buhanist, who congratulated Kazakhstani women for the special day and encouraged the participants of the webinar to continue working for the realization of equal rights of women in their community. Ambassador Mäkeläinen-Buhanist also discussed Finland’s bid to the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in 2022–2024. “As a member of the Human Rights Council, we want to work with all nations and stakeholders to build a world where women and girls of all abilities and ages can fully enjoy their rights. Continued prosperity and well-being of our societies is not possible without the equal participation by all genders.”
Other themes of the Finnish campaign for the Human Rights Council include new technologies and digitalization, climate change, and education as a human right. More information can be found at https://um.fi/hrc

Following the Ambassador’s opening remarks, the participants were greeted by a short video message from Finland’s Minister of Nordic Cooperation and Equality, Thomas Blomqvist. In the video, Minister Blomqvist highlighted that because of its benefits to society, everyone everywhere should be interested in promoting women´s rights. He also pointed out that while the world might be diverse, human rights are universal.

The webinar also featured speeches by the deputy of the Majilis of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Chair of National Commission for Women, Family and Demographic Policy under the President Lazzat Ramazanova, the creator of “Engaged fatherhood” podcast Eldar Kudaibergenov, profeminist activist Moldiyar Yergebekov and others.

The event culminated in the awarding of Finnish #Hän Honor to director Katerina Suvorova for her efforts to elevate the voices of Kazakhstani women and girls through her past and new film projects. Kazakhstan’s famous documentary filmmaker Katerina Suvorova is known for her ability to take the viewer on a journey through some of the most complex issues, ranging from environmental problems (“Sea Tomorrow” - film about the residents of the Aral Sea shores) to social and cultural contradictions that have surfaced in the modern independent Kazakhstani society (“Face the Music” – about the contemporary Kazakh pop band who broke many traditional stereotypes). Katerina Suvorova is specifically known for her activism in promoting gender equality. She is vocal and visible whenever women and girls’ empowerment is on agenda.  Among her recent productions was a touching  viral video on equal rights and opportunities of girls and boys “Big dreams – equal opportunities”. Katerina’s future documentary “QyzBolsyn” (May it be a Girl) is  exploring  the lives of women and girls named at birth “Ulbolsyn” (“May it be a Boy”) meaning the preference for a son at birth of a child. Such a tradition is not unique to Kazakhstan and exists in other countries of Central Asia and various regions of the world as well.

The word Hän is the inclusive Finnish pronoun that stands for equal opportunity. #Hän Honor is an acknowledgement given by the Finnish embassies around the world to local change makers for their important work on promoting equality-related values in their societies. Other recipients of the Honor include an award-winning writer Caroline Criado-Perez (UK), a social justice NGO Cenpec (Brazil) and human rights advocate Angkhana Neelapaijit (Thailand). More information regarding the award recipients and the #Hän campaign can be found at https://finland.fi/han/