14 March 2019 New York: MY BODY IS MINE – How free contraception is linked to empowerment and education


14th International Helvi Sipilä Seminar 
MY BODY IS MINE – How free contraception is linked to empowerment and education

Time: Thursday, 14 March 2019, 10.00 – 11.15 am

Place: Permanent Mission of Finland to the United Nations, 605 Third Avenue, 35 Floor, N.Y.

Live stream can be found here and the presentations here.


Terhi Heinilä, Secretary General, The National Council of Women of Finland

How free contraception promotes reproductive and sexual rights
Marjo Lyyra, President, The Federation of Finnish Midwives

Empowering the Youth – The Politics of Free Contraception
Sanna Vesikansa, The Deputy Mayor for Social Services and Health Care, City of

Access to contraception: a way to address unsafe abortion in Zimbabwe
Edinah Masiyiwa, Executive Director, Women’s Action Group Zimbabwe

Revolutionary Effects of Accessible Family Planning
Stacy Dry Lara, Executive Director, Graduate Women International (GWI)

Young women’s transformative leadership and advocacy in SRHR
Jill Anami, gender specialist, YWCA Kenya

Katri Viinikka, Ambassador for Gender Equality, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

Chair of the seminar
Sari Kuusela, Finnish Federation of Graduate Women

Breakfast will be served to all participants.

Registrations before 12 (extended) March 2019.

The seminar is organized jointly by the Finnish Federation of Graduate Womenthe National Council of Women of Finlandthe Coalition of Finnish Women’s Associations – NYTKISFinland National Committee for UN Women and the Young Women’s Christian Association of Finland YWCA.

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Helvi Sipilä Seminar at the CSW since 2006

Helvi Sipilä was a Finnish lawyer, diplomat and the first female Assistant Secretary-General of the UN. Sipilä received numerous national and international awards including twelve honorary doctorates, and she was granted the honorary title of Minister in 2001.

Helvi Sipilä also held leadership position in several associations, including the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, International Federation of Women Lawyers and the International Council of Women.
Helvi Sipilä’s profession in law was exceptional at the time. When she announced the opening of her own law firm in 1943, she became the second woman in the Finnish history to practice as a lawyer. She ran her own law firm for 30 years. Private entrepreneurship enabled her to engage in extensive social activities, including service as a member of governmental missions.

While Assistant Secretary-General, she was appointed Secretary-General of the UN World Conference on Women in Mexico 1975. She continued to work as a consultant for the UN until 1981, in order to promote the UN Voluntary Fund for the Advancement of Women, later known as UNIFEM, set up during the UN Decade for Women 1976 – 1985.

Helvi Sipilä was a well-known and respected advocate for equality and women’s rights. Her important legacy will live on. The first international Helvi Sipilä Seminar was organized at the CSW50 in 2006 by the Finnish Federation of University Women (FFUW) in collaboration with four other Finnish Women’s organizations to honor the work of Minister Helvi Sipilä.

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Ulkoministeriön, sosiaali- ja terveysministeriön ja Suomen YK-edustuston nk. NGO-briiffi CSW 63:een osallistuville suomalaisille kansalaisjärjestöedustajille torstaina 14.3.2019 kello 9.00-10 Suomen YK-edustustossa, osoite: Permanent Mission of Finland to the United Nations, 605 Third Avenue, 35 Floor, N.Y.