I was born a girl

Main partners:

Making women's rights visible globally

The 'I was born a girl'- exhibition, curated by Peppi Stünkel presents Finnish artist Minna Pietarinen's peer-supporting art and poetry about women's and girl's rights around the world. Her skillful and emotional works introduce inspiring, glass-ceiling-shattering and world-changing women from diverse cultures, representing different human rights. The art and poetry also serves as emotional support for women who have been discriminated against or whose rights have been violated. 


The exhibition first opened for Women’s Day 2023 in Mexico City in cooperation with the Embassy of Finland and reached 26,000 visitors. The exhibition then made its European debut at the Nordic Business Forum 2023 in Helsinki in September 2023 after which it opened for the general public in AINOA. From there, the exhibition returned to Finland to be experienced by 7000 business leaders including Malala at the Nordic Business Forum 2023. The exhibition then opened to the general public in Finland until the end of the year and in March the exhibition travelled to Southern Africa in 3 locations: Pretoria, Lusaka and Maputo for International Women's Day 2024. 


The exhibition has already been requested to over 20 countries and will be opening at the Palais des Nations at the UN in Geneva this summer in in conjunction with the 57th Human Rights Council starting on the 9th of September 2024.


In October the exhibition will open in the Women's Pavilion in Dubai and for Women's Day 2025 the exhibition will be opened in Santiago de Chile.


Opening event at DIRCO South Africa on the 4th of March 2024

Join the movement:

As an organization

Join organizations like UN Women Finland as a partner in our shared mission to promote women's rights and gender equality globally.

Contact: info@iwasbornagirl.fi

As a company

Join companies like GRANO with strong gender equality values to help promote women's rights and gender equality globally through art & poetry. Contact us for options to partner in our upcoming exhibitions in Geneva, Dubai and Santiago. 

Contact: info@iwasbornagirl.fi

The Art & Poetry

The leading piece of the exhibition is a 2 x 3 meter piece of Malala, which represents girls and women’s right to education. In addition to the Malala work, the exhibition includes 8 more pieces (100 x 150 cm) that have been painted exclusively for this exhibition.


The right to peace and security is represented by art featuring the first lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska and the art featuring Mahsa Amini highlights the position of women in Iran and their right to freedom. Minna has also painted art featuring UN Women Ambassador Jaha Dukureh to represent her advocacy to end female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage. Finnish president Tarja Halonen represents the right to political participation and decision making and Rigoberta Menchú Tum the rights of indigenous women. 

Former Finnish President Tarja Halonen welcomes vsitors to the virtual gallery.

Don't forget to hit Subscribe on our YouTube channel for updates on our journey promoting gender equality and women's rights. 🎨✨

The Virtual Gallery

The overarching objective of the entire exhibition is to empower women globally and raise awareness about women's rights across all age groups and genders. The Virtual Art Exhibition is intentionally designed to be inclusive and accessible to everyone, everywhere, at no cost. Anyone can share the exhibition, and its reach has extended worldwide, actively amplified by our partners, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland and UN Women Suomi.


This initiative aligns with the UN Generation Equality theme "Technology and innovations for equality", where Finland holds a leading role. By leveraging technology, the virtual exhibition serves as a powerful tool to engage millennials and Generation Z, reaching them in a manner that resonates with their natural inclinations. The exhibition, by virtue of its accessibility and digital nature, becomes a catalyst for fostering awareness, understanding, and support for gender equality on a global scale.


The virtual exhibition includes a welcome speech by former President of Finland, Tarja Halonen. She is also featured in the art and poetry by Minna Pietarinen about the right to political participation and decision making.

Tarja Halonen is Finland's first female president, foreign minister, justice minister and the first female lawyer of the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions - a real glass ceiling breaker! Halonen served as the President of Finland in 2000–2012.

With her exemplary work, Halonen has promoted women's rights, sexual rights and the rights of minorities. Halonen has played a significant role in the development of Finnish civil society since the 1970s, and she has acted as a chairwoman, employee and active member of many non-governmental organizations.


You can access the virtual gallery in Finnish, English and Spanish here: 


The Book

The I was born a girl- book has been made from the art and poems of the art exhibition, which will serve as peer support for women, to raise awareness and to promote women’s rights around the world. The first edition was tri-lingual (Eng, Fi & Spa) and later editions have been made in Finnish and English separately.


The purpose of the book is to raise awareness, call to action and support women around the world, but also as a tool for organizations that work for women’s rights every day. 


The accompanying texts telling the stories of the women in the paintings and the rights that are depicted were written by Emma Winiecki, Head of Communications for UN Women Finland. UN Women Finland is the Finnish National Committee of UN Women. 


UN Women is the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting the needs of women and girls worldwide.


Download FREE I was born a girl E-book here: