IMAGE OF TODAY’S WOMEN IN THE WORLD
On October 14-18, Saint Petersburg hosted the 137th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly. The Forum of Women Parliamentarians held as part of that event, attracted parliamentarians from different countries. Journalists of the Eurasian Women’s Community interviewed a number of participants in order to find out their opinions about women of the world. So, what qualities must modern women have and what social projects interest them most?
In terms of the project called Social Responsibility of Journalism, the EWC news agency analyzed and summarized the IPU interviews.
Pia Locatelli, member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, leader of the Italian delegation at the 137th IPU Assembly, shared her ideas. According to her, it is necessary for Italians to pay more attention to their personal and professional growth, to struggle against violence against women, and not to throw a veil over similar situations.
“Prevention of new crimes is often more important than punishment”, she said.
According to Jean Milligan, press-secretary of the IPU communications division, women play an extremely important role on the global stage. For example, in Switzerland, women occupy a number of leading positions within political parties despite the fact that they received the right to vote only in the 1970s.
“Progressive countries still have room for improvement, particularly on equal representation of men and women in parliaments”, commented Jean Milligan.
Andrea Martinez, adviser to the Venezuelan delegation, expressed her point of view in the following way: “It is essential that women realize their ability to achieve much in any field, including politics. Only after this they have a real opportunity to engage in what they like”.
Venezuelan women are very respected in the society. However, some issues in Venezuela are still not resolved. For example, the problem of combining work and childcare.
Andrea was brought up by her father. That is why she believes that not only women can take responsibility for taking care of family.
Raksha Khadse, delegate from India, also expressed an interesting point of view regarding this issue: “We have long been working on equal terms with men. Men’s being superior has become a thing of the past”.
According to Raksha Khadse, India pays much attention to protecting women. For some time now the site has had a website where any Indian woman can find assistance in difficult situation and information necessary for her.
Pam Damoff, delegate from Canada, shared that her country had achieved absolute gender equality.
As she said, men and women in Canada have no limits in exercising their rights in the political and economic life of the country. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms provided that by forbidding gender-based discrimination.
Marry Navicha, Member of the National Assembly of the Republic of Malawi, believes that the world will experience huge changes thanks to women. To do this, women should believe in themselves and pay more attention to their education.
Amra Khan, Member of the Pakistani National Assembly, shared information on women in her country. Pakistani women take active part in the country’s public life. They successfully cope with such fields, as medicine, engineering, teaching, and government.
“Gender equality is a situation when men and women have equal level of representation and participation in all fields of life”, said Amra Khan.
Teresita Garcia, senator from Colombia, shared statistics data characterizing women’s level of participation in politics of the country. According to the speaker, there should be no less than 50% of women in the Colombian Parliament. Unfortunately, now their share is only 20%.
The senator noted that opportunities of men and women in Colombia are not equal because employers often do not employ women because they can get pregnant and go on maternity leave.
Nevertheless, authorities work hard to fix that situation and also actively develop legislation against any type of violence. However, Teresita Garcia thinks those measures are not enough.
“Only in cooperation with men we will manage to achieve actual gender equality”, she commented.
The best thing is that this cooperation already takes place. Saber Chowdhury, former President of the IPU, included empowering women in the list of main tasks of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
Speaking about his country, Saber Chowdhury, touched upon the role of Bangladeshi women. According to him, it has been only growing from year to year. This fact is promising.
The task to change the mentality of people regarding gender issue is still a labour-intensive problem. Men must learn to see women in a different light and to respect them. Under such conditions, women’s empowerment will become more effective.
Summing up interviews of the 137th IPU Assembly, we conclude that the image of today’s women is built from many characteristics prevailing in each country. However, the main functions of women, such as being a mother, wife, public or political figure, colleague, and peacekeeper, remain unchanged.
Why is peacekeeping so important for women of the modern world? No woman wants war where her children and children of other mothers can die. No woman wants her children to live in the aggressive society ignoring norms of law and morality. Thus, peacekeeping is what all the interviewees advocate for.
All the roles of women mentioned above require responsibility, stress tolerance, benevolence, diligence, and readiness to develop oneself every day. Although we live in the 21st century, it is still not easy being a woman. This is enormous work requiring both emotional and physical efforts, patience, time, and often self-sacrifice. After understanding all that, one can’t remain indifferent. One must pay more attention to gender issue, and respect and support women.
Anna Maslova, news agency of the Eurasian Women’s Community
Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov