In her opening speech to the Second Eurasian Women’s Forum in St Petersburg, PACE President Liliane Maury Pasquier has welcomed the Forum’s “strategic vision” and its “vision for the future”.
“It is looking at how to achieve gender equality now, but also at how to prevent new inequalities from taking hold in the future; I am thinking, in particular, of preventing the digital divide and promoting the presence of girls in sectors such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” she said.
Turning to the representation of women in politics, the President shared the Assembly’s experience of striving to ensure a balanced representation of women and men parliamentarians and encouraging parliaments to move in this direction.
With regard to violence against women, the President condemned “this major scourge in all our countries. Violence is both a cause and a consequence of inequality between women and men. As a parliamentarian, I can testify that even in parliaments, women are not immune,” she said, announcing her participation in the presentation of a study on sexism, harassment and sexual violence against women in parliaments in Europe, carried out by the IPU and PACE, on 16 October in Geneva.
She also highlighted the work of the Parliamentary Network “Women Free from Violence”, which allows parliamentarians to jointly seek solutions, an initiative that, according to Maury Pasquier, “could be replicated at the national level or by other international parliamentary assemblies”.
Finally, she welcomed the adoption by the Russian Federation of a National Action Plan for Women for 2017-2022 as “an extremely positive step and a good example of a multidisciplinary approach that deserves to be studied”.
The forum, organised by the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of Russia and the Interparliamentary Assembly of the Commonwealth of Independent States (IPA-CIS), focuses on women’s involvement in global security and sustainable development. It brings together women parliamentarians, as well as representatives of governments, international organisations, business, science, associations, and women’s movements from different countries.
On this occasion, the President also held several high-level bilateral meetings.