In terms of the 137th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly held in Saint Petersburg, the 26th session of the Forum of Women Parliamentarians took place there. Galina Karelova, Deputy Chairperson of the Federation Council, chaired it. Upwards of 200 women parliamentarians from more than 150 countries took part in it.


“In recent years, the Forum of Women Parliamentarians has become an obligatory part and a systematic tradition of the IPU Assembly. In many respects, thanks to the efforts of its participants, the representation of women in parliaments is growing rapidly”, commented Galina Karelova.

The senator recalled that before 1945 there was only one woman speaker in the world, who was in the Austrian parliament. Today 51 women preside in one of the chambers of 193 parliaments. Moreover, 77 of those parliaments consist of two chambers.  It is likely that very soon women will be one-fourth of the total number of speakers of parliaments. It is interesting to note that women also headed 17 delegations taking part in the Assembly in Saint Petersburg.


Galina Karelova herself is the deputy of Valentina Matvienko. Valentina became the first woman in the history of Russia who chaired one of the chambers of the Federal Assembly. According to Galina, on her position of Deputy Chairperson of the Federation Council she pays much attention to the issues of social legislation and the so-called women's agenda dealing with gender equality issue.

“We are open to cooperation with women from different countries. We actively cooperate with international organizations. We appreciate the fact that the issues of gender equality are seriously discussed at the events of authoritative international associations such as APEC, BRICS, SCO and others. This contributes to the successful implementation of international projects in favour of women. And there are many such projects today”, she said.


The senator also said that one of the large-scale international venues was the Eurasian Women's Forum. It was decided that the event should be held every three years in Saint Petersburg. The Second Eurasian Women’s Forum is to be held in September 2018. Galina Karelova invited all the women parliamentarians attending the event to participate in the forthcoming forum. She believes that the forum will develop the main idea of the current session.


In terms of this session, the participants discuss gender issues and their ability to influence global processes. At the same time, the program of the event was formed taking into account one of the main topics of the 137th IPU Assembly which is the 20th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Democracy. Women parliamentarians are sure that gender equality is one of the main criteria of ensuring democracy.


The participants of the session were divided into two main sections, the Bureau of Women Parliamentarians and the Gender Partnership Group. It is interesting that after discussion of gender equality and optimum percentage of both sexes in parliament and at other governing structures, the participants of the session came to the following conclusion. It is extremely important not only to promote women in the political sphere, but also to observe the balance, not to detract from opinions of men being significant as well.

The speaker emphasized the relevance of the 26th session of the Forum of Women Parliamentarians. The level of representation and scale of the event once again confirm the high relevance of the women's agenda in the modern world. According to Galina Karelova, the Forum can give impetus to the development of international women's cooperation and will form new traditions in the realization of ​​gender equality.

Viktoria Yezhova, news agency of the Eurasian Women’s Community

Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov