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Address by Speaker of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly
of the Russian Federation Valentina Matvienko

Dear Friends!
I cordially welcome you to the Eurasian Women's Forum portal!

The idea to create this resource did not originate artificially, but was dictated by necessity. The First Eurasian Women's Forum in St Petersburg in 2015 showed just how essential and important the female component of the global agenda is. Individual countries and the international community have done a lot to establish full gender equality and enhance the role of women in politics, economics, and the social sector. But it's still way too early to say that all the problems have been solved. Violations of women’s rights, discrimination against them in various areas, manifestations of sexism, domestic violence, gender barriers in business, and career development are seen all around the world, including in countries that claim to set the standard for democracy, progress, and the observance of human rights. 

This is precisely why the participants in the First Eurasian Women's Forum called for continuing the discussion of urgent problems and creating an information and discussion platform where such work could be conducted non-stop in a free, open, and sustained manner. Today, there is every reason to claim that the Eurasian Women’s Community has become such a platform. It is open to anyone who is constructive and ready to seek ways to solve problems, and is free from restrictions on discussion topics and their content. The portal is designed to consolidate political forces, social movements, and organizations that aim to achieve concrete results in establishing gender equality and creating conditions that allow women to fulfil their potential in all areas.

I’m glad to note that our country, Russia, was one of the first to embark on the path of truly implementing such reforms. Even according to the most stringent standards in this regard, we have progressed far beyond many other states. 

Much has been done in this regard over the last 10-15 years. The policy of gender equality has become a real priority for the state. A number of major legislative acts have been adopted. Women’s interests are taken into account when drafting and implementing various state programmes as well as federal and regional strategies. The best example of this, of course, is the National Strategy for Women’s Action for 2017-2022. In addition, one of the results of the National Strategy for Children’s Interests has undoubtedly been an improvement in conditions for mothers. Work is evolving as part of the Decade of Childhood in 2018-2027 and the implementation of a demographic package of measures. This list could go on and on. Substantial credit goes to Russian President Vladimir Putin in all of this. He was the one who dramatically redoubled the attention of the government and society on issues that dictate improvements to the situation with Russian women as well as the wellbeing of the family and childhood. 

The Eurasian Women’s Forum has reaffirmed women’s growing role in all areas of society. Science, digital technologies, economic growth, social progress, and international relations have all become areas in which women are actively involved. We see that improvements in the international situation, environmental conservation, and the preservation of the institution of family and the humanistic values ​​that underlie our civilization are all largely dependent on this. It is no exaggeration to say that we, women, have become an important factor in the historical process and world politics thanks to our intellectual potential, professional training, initiative and energy, and determination to peacefully settle any conflicts. 

Expanding women’s influence in all spheres of life requires constant attention and daily efforts on the part of the UN, international and national women’s organizations, parliaments, governments, NGOs, and other structures of civil society. The Eurasian Women’s Forum has provided a powerful impetus for this kind of activity. It has resulted in the formation of active teams and the emergence of women’s clubs and projects involving women from countries of the SCO, APEC, BRICS, the EAEU, and the Middle East. The Working Group of the Eurasian Women’s Forum has been highly productive. Women who have achieved recognition and success in various fields hold regular meeting. By coordinating and shedding light on such activities, the Eurasian Women’s Community portal is carrying out an important social and political mission of global importance. 

In September 2018, St Petersburg will host the Second Eurasian Women’s Forum. It would be no exaggeration to say that women around the globe are waiting for this event. Everyone who understands the importance of achieving genuine equality for the world as a whole and creating the conditions necessary for the full and discrimination-free realization of women’s interests, abilities, and talents has pinned their hopes on this forum. I am sure that by joining forces, we will be able to make progress in this regard at the upcoming forum. I urge you, dear women, to be even more proactive, pragmatic, and persistent in achieving your lofty goals!