Russia and EWF: Awe and Patience Towards Women

Russia and EWF: Awe and Patience Towards Women

Why did EWF delegates want to take a photo with Vladimir Putin so much that even supervisors’ requests to stop never worked? 

The Second Eurasian Women’s Forum gathered about 1500 politicians, entrepreneurs, scientists, and public figures from 110 countries. Perhaps, it is no exaggeration to say that 1500 women’s success stories have been told at the forum’s platforms. If there are more such stories ‘the countries of the world will only be winning’ stressed the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin during the Women for Global Security and Sustainable Development plenary session. 

Vladimir Putin’s visit to the Tauride Palace was a surprise for many guests. It corresponded to special attention of the Russian Government and public organisations to women’s agenda, which was reflected in the President’s speech and reports of Russian women at the platforms of the forum. There are not so many countries enjoying such level of state supporting women’s entrepreneurship, programmes of women’s longevity and children’s healthcare, and creation of conditions for mothers who want to return to work after maternity leave. 

Russian policy of gender equality, programmes of maternal capital, allocation of trillions of rubles from budget for supporting families with children, and additional places in nurseries… The foreign women consider those things significant achievements of recent years, while Russian women have got used to them as to natural privileges.

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The foreign women’s position: if Russia has done it, we can do it too. 

Perhaps, that is a positive example and a motivation to follow it that formed the basis of the international women’s forum in Russia three years ago. Maybe that is the reason why international guests like the Russian President and want to take photo with him forgetting about the rules. The President understood that and welcomed the photo session. 

What does it mean? It means that the ideas of recent years such as ‘the whole world is against us’, ‘we are in the international isolation’ or ‘they want to curb us with sanctions’ do not correlate to the whole world. However, Russian and foreign media make people think that we don’t like one another. 

Politics does not exist without managing information flows. The task is to make them serve for peace, global security, and sustainable development. 

Women’s leadership could provide an information balance in the system of media. It was not by chance that the topic of mass media opportunities in forming the agenda generated great interest at the same-name open discussion supervised by Marina Volynkina, Head of the Eurasian Women’s Community and Rector of the IGUMO. 

Margarita Simonyan, Editor-in-Chief of the Russia Today TV channel, said that for foreign citizens, it was not all about issues most discussed by politicians. 

According to Ms. Simonyan, many people associate Russia and Vladimir Putin with another agenda. They see Russia and Putin as the last governmental mainstay of robust traditional conservatism. 

The world has divided: there are ultra-liberal and ultra-religious vectors. Yet there are many women who don’t want to wear burqa as a symbol of total disempowerment as well as don’t pretend they are absolute analogues of men. They don’t understand why it should offend them if anyone would open a door for them or present them flowers. “Those women would like to remain women. In Russia, women could come across any type of discrimination except the gender one. Nobody imposes obstacles only because we are women”, said Margarita Simonyan at the forum and repeated it at the Vladimir Soloviov’s author programme. 

There is still a cordial attitude towards women in Russia despite all wars, defaults, sanctions, and other turmoil. 

According to the Constitution, everyone is equal and there no outright bans for women. It were Russian men who won the statutory right for paternal leave. Why? To give their wives an opportunity to have an emotional and physiological rest after giving birth. 

Even presidents treat women cordially in Russia. 

It causes an admiring envy. Perhaps, that is why the participants took a chance to make a selfie with Vladimir Putin at the plenary session. 

Tina Stankevich, news agency of the Eurasian Women’s Community 

Photos by IPA CIS Press Service 

Translated by Yan Zarubin