A global honour for empowering young women
When we look at the challenges that face our world, and some of the longstanding behaviours that created those challenges, there can be little doubt that empowering girls and young women is an important part of the global solution.
As part of its commitment to pursuing action on the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals ThinkPlace works to advance gender equality globally.
That’s why we are honoured to be the major sponsor and curriculum provider for the Girls Leadership Network, an ongoing program in Canberra, Australia that helps young women form a network of like-minded peers, develop leadership skills, and learn from inspirational speakers.
And we are incredibly excited to see the network, its founders and the incredible work it does honoured by a prestigious Han award from the Government of Finland.
FINLAND AND GENDER EQUALITY
Finland has recently appointed a 34-year-old female prime minister, Sanna Marin. The other four parties in the government coalition all have female leaders – three of whom are also less than 35 years old. Finnish society has been built with the concept of equal opportunity as a guiding principle.
A strong advocate internationally as well as at home, Finland actively supports individuals and groups working towards an equal future. The Embassy of Finland has just presented The Girls Leadership Network, with the nation’s Hän Award – making the network the first ever Australian recipient, and only the 17th worldwide.
WHAT IS THE Hän AWARD?
In June 2019, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland launched a campaign to show appreciation for the valuable work that is being done around the world to advance equality in society. Finland has presented special recognition – a Hän Honour to individuals and groups around the globe who are committed to advancing inclusivity in society. You can read more about the other honourees here.
WHAT IS Hän?
The award is named after Hän, a special, gender-neutral pronoun used as part of Finland’s written language since the year 1543. Its use, commonplace in Finland and celebrated internationally, is a powerful example of how language can positively impact on gender and other forms of inequality. Male, female or non-binary in identification, anybody can be referred to by the pronoun. Using Hän in official discourses of government and business helps underscore that opportunities and rights apply equally to all.
MORE ABOUT THE NETWORK
ThinkPlace provides design thinking coaching and resources to the Girls Leadership Network as well as donating its studio space to host regular classes.
Tis the inclusive Finnish pronoun that stands for equal opportunity.
As part of the program, young women are also encouraged to create their own initiatives. One such program is Girls Run the World – created by the then 19-year-old co-founder of TGLN, Asha Clementi, and 18-year-old Imogen Brewer-De Nicola, a TGLN inaugural participant.
The pair built upon an initial collaboration with the Embassy of Finland in 2017 to launch a broader program for young women. Girls now have the opportunity to experience life and leadership experience with a number of embassies.
For Finland, network participants helped design an itinerary for a Finnish trade mission. For Canada, they took over the embassy’s social media for the day. For Thailand, they created a plan to encourage voting Thai citizens living in Australia during ng elections. These initiatives and many more drive learning and created positive mutual value.