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Women ‘at the heart of changes’: what was discussed at Eurasian Women’s Forum

"Women’s participation and leadership bring more enduring peace agreements, better social-protection programs and stronger climate policies," the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in his video address

MOSCOW, October 14. /TASS/. 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.

According to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the modern reality demands "a fundamental transformation" and "women and girls must be at its heart." TASS gathered some remarks from the forum’s participants.

A choice between children and career

"It is completely obvious that in modern conditions a woman should not face the choice between children and family or [her] own 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.

He reiterated that Russian authorities over recent years undertook a number of social measures to support families with children, pregnant women, single parents, increased the accessibility of nurseries and kindergartens and introduced programs of professional development during maternity leave.

More women in all spheres

Nowadays, almost half of Russia’s employed population are women, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said. According to her, their share in state and municipal service has increased to 73-77% while it surpasses 80% in such spheres as healthcare and social services.

Putin emphasized that women "with their heightened understanding of life’s values, compassion, mercy have always had a special mission in healthcare. I am confident that it will remain the same in the future. Including in defining the further actions in the sphere of medicine, pharmaceuticals, public health taking into account the lessons of the pandemic." The head of state noted that in Russia women occupy 58% of jobs in the creative industry sector and 40% of Russian scientists are female. Russia's Human Rights Commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova is confident that in the future Russia can have female president. "It doesn’t depend on the gender component. It is most important for the president to love Russia, Russians," she told journalists.

Traditional values and traditional problems

According to Putin, traditional family values that remain "the most important moral support and the guarantee of successful development now and in the future" do not contradict women’s aspirations to develop professionally. In his opinion, in this aspect Russia may be even more progressive than the rest of the world. "What for some countries is almost a breakthrough accompanied by loud campaigns on women’s rights and freedoms, for our country is an established practice and tradition." At the same time he noted that "on a global scale, a lot remains to be done for the full-scale implementation of women’s rights in order to ensure everywhere the possibility of their free non-discriminatory participation in all spheres of life."

Participation in global changes

Some participants of the forum put emphasis on how women can change the world in general. "Women’s participation and leadership bring more enduring peace agreements, better social-protection programs and stronger climate policies," the UN Secretary-General said in his video address.

According to Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, women can contribute to the unification of a global community. "We can raise our voices and should do so when the world needs unification."

The women’s forum, according to Russian Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko should "urge the international community <...> to ensure equal access to vaccines and medicines, the mutual recognition of vaccination certificates, reject any discriminatory practices in the sphere of healthcare." She reiterated that it is precisely women who make up a "significant share of those on the frontline of the fight against the virus".