Zimbabwean First Lady, Auxillia Mnangagwa (middle), addresses the global forum/Photo: Kester Kenn Klomegah

Russia Conference on Empowering Women in the Changing World

Our Moscow correspondent Kester Kenn Klomegah reports on a global women conference held last week in St. Petersburg and at which leading African female leaders took part

Women play an increasingly important role in resolving issues that society and the state encounter and in the modern world, they should not face the choice between family and self-fulfillment, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the third Eurasian Women’s Forum held in St. Petersburg on October 13-15.

“It is completely obvious that in modern conditions a woman should not face the choice between children and family or professional fulfillment. That is why in Russia the conditions are consistently created for a woman after childbirth to begin or resume her professional career at any moment, to become accomplished, to achieve growth in what she enjoys,” Putin stressed.

The Eurasian Women’s Forum, held since 2015, is one of the largest international platforms uniting female leaders from all continents to examine and discuss the role of women in the modern world and work out new approaches to solving global problems.

The forum was organized by the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation and Interparliamentary Assembly of the Commonwealth of Independent States (IPA CIS).

Speaker of the Federation Council, Valentina Matviyenko, gave the opening speech at the plenary session. She stressed that the main goal of the global women’s community is to improve people’s quality of life as well as build mutual understanding and trust between countries and peoples in the name of peace and sustainable development.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister, Viktoria Abramchenko, noted in her speech that women are directly involved in implementing these tasks in Russia and on international platforms.

Vietnamese Vice President, Vo Thi Anh Xuan, made a video conference presentation. She said that the Forum was bringing together the majority of women around the world. “The role of women today is extremely important. We can make the world more just and help fight global challenges,” she said.

Chairwoman of the National Assembly of Azerbaijan, Sahiba Ali gizi Gafarova, believes that the topics discussed at the Eurasian Women’s Forum provide an opportunity to consider the most pressing issues of modern life and enhance women’s status around the world. Gafarova stated that fully unleashing women’s potential would be the foundation for building a healthy society.

Chairwoman of the Senate of Uzbekistan, Tanzila Narbaeva, noted that the Forum once again demonstrated women’s growing role in resolving the socioeconomic issues facing their countries. The Forum demonstrates new approaches to the women’s agenda, she said.

Narbaeva stressed that Uzbekistan is ready to share its experience in various areas and is open for cooperation. She invited the participants to take part in the women’s forum during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit in 2022, which is planned to hold in Samarkand.

Chairwoman of the Lower Chamber of Parliament of Turkmenistan, Gulshat Mammedova, said the Forum was an important platform for interaction between women and helps to harmonize efforts in addressing various issues of the changing world as well as exchange views and experience in promoting women’s rights.

African participants, including the President of the Senate of Gabon, Lucie Milebou Aubusson, Liberian Vice-President Dr. Jewel Howard-Taylor and Zimbabwean First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa, prominently featured at the Forum. President of the Assembly of Mozambique, Esperança Laurinda Francisco Nhiuane Bias, delivered a speech.

Zimbabwean First Lady, Auxillia Mnangagwa, held a special working discussion with the Speaker of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, Valentina Matviyenko, on the sidelines focusing on developing inter-parliamentary relations, women in sustainable development, education and charity.

The First Lady and the Speaker snapshotted on the possibility of greater participation of Russian economic operators in the development process in southern African region. Diplomatic relations between the two countries mark its 40th anniversary this year.

On October 15, African women took part in an exclusive discussion on “the Role of Women in the Integrated Development of the African Continent” at the Tauride Palace. It was attended by women from international organizations, business circles, scientific community and non-governmental organizations.

The entire third forum was held offline using modern formats such as video conferencing and online broadcast, intended to ensure extended outreach and provide audience engagement. The physical presence was organized in strict accordance with safety measures aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19.

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