Gender Equality—improving the position of women and girls—is a prerequisite to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and sustainable development. Education and improving maternal health care are also practical means of reducing poverty.
— Her Excellency Tarja Halonen
Her Excellency Tarja Halonen was the first woman president of Finland, and she served in parliament for six terms, from 1979 to 2000. She is known for her commitment to human rights and has been a long-time advocate for sexual rights and comprehensive sexuality education. Currently, she is chair of the Council of Women World Leaders and member of the Board of Trustees of the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights. Halonen is also co-chair of the International Conference on Population and Development.