Women in Global Politics: Gender Cooperation, Equality of Opportunity and Glass Ceilings
Valdai Club Conference Hall. 42, Bolshaya Tatarskaya, Moscow, Russia
List of speakers

On March 4, the Valdai Club hosted an expert discussion, titled “Who Is the Weaker Sex? The Role of Women in World Politics and Conflict Resolution”, dedicated to the problems of gender equality. The discussion was moderated by Andrey Bystritskiy, Chairman of the Board of the Valdai Club Foundation.

Inga Yumasheva, a member of the State Duma Committee on Family, Women and Children, in her address to the discussion participants, spoke about the importance of combining female and male approaches and types of leadership in politics and diplomacy. “The goal should not be competition, but cooperation between the sexes,” she said. Victoria Panova, Managing Director of the National Committee for BRICS Research and Academic Supervisor of the BRICS Russia Organising Committee Expert Council, noted that, in her experience, equal representation of both sexes in a team has a positive effect on efficiency and allows for the achievement of maximum results. Ekaterina Orlova, Head of International Projects at the Department of Foreign Affairs of RTR, Member of the EBU TV Committee and EBU Gender Equality Group, emphasised that gender equality is not only a fundamental right, but also a condition for the peaceful existence of society, and stressed the importance of equal representation in the corporate structures of broadcasters. Tatiana Valovaya, Director of the UN Office in Geneva, noted that if you start from scratch, equality could arise by itself, in a natural way, but if there is an organisational background, political will and some coercion are needed to ensure equality of opportunities.

Norma Bertha Pensado Moreno, Ambassador of Mexico to Russia, outlined the women's rights situation in Mexico, with particular emphasis on economic and labour rights issues. “We are proud of our accomplishments, but there is still a lot to be done when it comes to enforcement,” she admitted. “The hardest part is breaking the glass ceilings that prevent women from moving up the career ladder.” Raghida Dergham, Founder and Executive Chairman of the Beirut Institute, Columnist for The National and Annahar Al Arabi, said the situation with women's equality does not provide grounds for celebration. Describing the state of affairs in Lebanon and in the Arab world, she said: “We have to be a stronger sex in order to win ourselves some opportunities. We must have the right to influence politics." Orietta Moscatelli, Foreign Affairs Desk Chief at the Multimedia Agency Askanews, presented her view from Italy. Pointing to the shallowness of women's representation in European politics, she stressed that gender quotas as such cannot be the solution.