Women worldwide have faced discrimination, injustice and the infringement of their rights for centuries. In the 21st century, there still exists a great number of women who don't have basic civil rights, and female representation on different levels of our society remains low.
To quote President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, "It would be naive to believe that the world should by solely ruled by either men or women. I see the natural and wisest way out in a natural balance of two sexes created by God to be one wholesome unity."
We are currently witnessing a violent opposition in Ukraine. Russians and Ukrainians are one nation, we have similar values. I have relatives and friends in Ukraine. My heart aches when I see people killing each other. But I also see that amidst blood and destruction, women are taking responsibility and finding solutions: unarmed and fragile mothers stop mindless violence by appealing to their sons on both sides of the conflict. Women have recognized the power of accurate information; they are taking a stand against "the narrative of war" by funding a Maidan newspaper publication and assisting journalists. Young feminists staff hotlines and volunteer at makeshift medical centers. Women are providing practical support, preparing food for protestors at the barricades and gathering donations of medical supplies. This is the leadership we are seeking.
I strongly believe in a better society with a balanced representation of men and women. It is a matter of straightforward justice, and it is also a matter of improving the democratic quality of representation. Having more women in politics has a positive effect by creating positive role models for young girls and boys. It paves a path towards equality.
Steps towards this goal could include:
a. Gender-sensitization sessions to increase awareness of all society.
b. Efforts to recruit, increase capacity, and provide opportunities for women in politics.
c. Supporting medium-to-long-term programming to develop cadres of female politicians to ensure professionalism and sustained peace.
d. Supporting women's political participation at the local and national level to ensure that a sufficient number of women are present in politics.
In my second year at Moscow State University I set up a club to discuss politics so that we can find ways of improving the life of our society. While discussing the problem of orphans and abandoned children, I felt that I was not alone in my desire to help them and contribute to their future. This compassion for helping others is what gives us the strength to be active leaders in all spheres of society, because our ultimate goal is to protect the future of our communities.
We can all be proud of the significant progress in advancement of women's rights to date, but there is still much that needs to be done before full equality is achieved, and such an endeavor will not be easy. I am here to help support this fight.
By Yaroslava Eryomina, delegate representing Russia at the 2014 G(irls)20 Summit
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