Third Eurasian Women's Forum 

Dr. Gülden Türktan IWF President, Türkiye


The Third Eurasian Women's Forum was held on 13-15 October in Saint Petersburg.

This year the slogan of the forum was "Women: A Global Mission in a New Reality." Even this slogan implies change. I believe that we are going through a period of change and we all in our lives have new realities.

HE President Putin of the Russian Federation in his speech at the Plenary at the dome said that women play an increasingly significant role in resolving issues that society and the state encounter and in the modern world, they should not face the choice between family and self-fulfillment. He also said that it is completely obvious that the woman should not face a choice between children and family or professional life. That is why in Russia the conditions are made available to encourage women after childbirth to resume their professional career.

Childcare was always in the scope of Russia, and it continues even more so mostly because of probably single mothers with one or more kids.

Care economy and childcare has been a major scope for the W20 that would enable sustainable growth for the respective G20 economies by supporting women's inclusion.

This was the Third Eurasian Women's Forum. First one was held in 2015. In the second Forum in 2018, in which I received the award of women to be recognized in front of the society, of which I am immensely proud. This year's award winner to be recognized among other women was the Italian W20 Sherpa Martina Rogato for Italy that is fulfilling the G20 Presidency in 2021.

It has been a challenging year for the W20 with mixed real and virtual meetings and many topics that needed to be attended mostly due to Covid, like women's health and domestic violence, as well as mental health issues. Italy managed this complicated year with elegance and Martina was one of the three key players that made the Italian W20 Communique a reality.

The Eurasian Forum has a think tank perspective for women's political, economic, and social inclusion issues and serious number of important women were invited and they made visual or real time contributions.

The Forum was organized by the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation and Interparliamentary Assembly of the Commonwealth of Independent States (IPA CIS). The host of the Forum was HE Valentina Matviyenko, the Speaker of the Federation Council. She made the opening speech at the plenary session. Madam Speaker asked the global women's community she is hosting to concentrate on improving people's quality of life as well as building mutual understanding and trust between countries and peoples for peace and sustainable development.

I had a chance to made a speech In the dome at the Plenary session which I am very proud of I mentioned that work and life balance has been even amplified with the pandemic and we all need to attend to this care issue with scrutiny for women who are multi-tasking between family, home, child care and work and we are saying we need them at business spheres as leaders, want them work at the civil society or be leader in politics and so on. I mentioned that with the changes we are going through we need to be careful and not leave anybody behind. With Covid women in the cities have fallen behind and they are trying to survive without food on their tables to feed their families. This time it is more serious than earlier, leaving nobody behind efforts which had in fact progressed well. I mentioned that we, in this room with so many established leaders, cannot look to the other side when we see the developments in Afghanistan.

I also made a speech at the international trade session. In the international trade session, there were several impressive women CEOs with experience in international trade from timber business to marshmallow production as well as imperial porcelain manufacturing, to French and Russian Chapter, to the Russian export Agency, all women and all have achieved quite much so far. I suggested that they expand their network even more and enhance their presence, have excellent communication, and not forget that costs must be well under control in international business to stay competitive.

I have been to Saint Petersburg a few times, but this time I managed to visit the Hermitage Museum for the first time ever. On Saturday I walked a total of sixteen kms. A record high distance according to my phone. This was a breakthrough for me as I am spending most of my days sitting in front of my computer working, talking, or making speeches. I knew that the museum was impressive but seeing is believing and I was extremely impressed. If I go back, I can walk another sixteen kms as what I had seen was only a small part of the building.

I have also noted that Saint Petersburg has been renovated, cleaned up and better maintained than my first visit in 2018. That was also impressive. It means that economic development is quite accomplished, and it is real. As an old capital there are many well-built buildings, still they are well maintained. Was there room for more maintenance? Yes, maybe. But under the covid conditions and economic down turns it was great to see that the city is shining.

One issue I had noted from the Forum's program package from the organizers was the light blue shawl where the participants from the milder weather conditions started wearing them immediately. I found it to be a very considerate thought that it may be colder than the usual weather that we are used to. I found it to be an excellent idea and useful courtesy.

We have nothing but to convey our sincere thanks to this organization as the women of the world and hope that it even develops to be a bigger think tank.