06/01/2012 12:11 pm ET Updated Aug 01, 2012

G(Irls)20 Summit: Russian Perspective on the Gender Issues

The G(irls)20 Summit is just an incredible event, which gathers delegates from each G20 country and one from African Union. This year the discussions will focus on the food security, women's strategic engagement in agriculture and the opportunities lost as a result of violence against women. These problems are really acute nowadays and too complicated to be resolved at once, but they really require urgent steps to be undertaken already now.

This Summit will represent the voices of 21 young ladies and I'm sure that we will manage to elaborate really applicable and relevant proposals on how to tackle these problems. I'm very proud to represent Russian Federation in this Summit in Mexico 2012.

I consider myself to be a confident, energetic, ambitious and socially-active person. I have experience of acting as a leader in groups and projects and taking part in numerous social events and conferences, including international ones. So I'm really happy and excited of being a part of the G(irls)20 Summit 2012, and therefore of having an opportunity to share my views, enthusiasm and some experience with others, and inspire them! Besides, the Summit provides us, participants, with precious skills and knowledge that critically important for women leaders in the modern society. Moreover, sometimes I still can't believe that I'm already here, in Mexico, in the core of its event! I have never met in one place so many ambitious, enthusiastic, smart young ladies and great women that are not indifferent to the wide range of issues on global and local level and who srtrive after making our world better by means of concrete steps but not just some words.

To represent Russia at this Summit is a great honor for me, it requires from me to be well-aware of exact problematic issues of my community and to think of nonconventional approaches to addressing current challenges. In general, the situation in Russia is not so difficult as in some other countries, but at the same tim,e a number of obstacles exist. In Russia, the formal status of women is relatively firm: the Constitution secures egalitarian rights of women and men, and the doors for primary and higher education are open to everyone. But a profound problem in social consciousness and mentality exists, manifesting itself in two extremes. The first extreme is over-burdened women: abandoned wives or those having drunkard-husbands. This problem is especially acute in rural areas, where women, often with children, have to provide for the entire family without any moral or financial support from former husbands and climb step by step by themselves.

The other extreme is the myth that a woman cannot be a high-level successful leader in some spheres of activities. Russian people don't believe that a woman-leader can be accountable, tolerant, stress-resistant, determined and lead a community. In reality, Russian women are limited in realizing their potential in some fields of activities, including politics, innovative technologies, applied informatics, heavy industry, engineering and even sometimes traditional kinds of business. Russia has known only a few successful businesswomen. Russia's president has never been a female. When Russian women look for a new job in these fields, they will definitely come across vacancies open to males only.

I believe the core problem of women's engagement lies in people's mentality. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that all national policies are gender-sensitive and it is indispensable to foster gender sensitivity and break gender-related stereotypes from early childhood among both boys and girls.

The G(irls)20 Summit for me is the most excellent opportunity I could ever imagine in order to accumulate necessary knowledge, acquire special skills in order to start at least some small steps in local scales to start shifting people's mentality and changing the positions of women to the better ones. Moreover, I couldn't even imagine that once I will meet with the distinguished personalities who occuppy the highest positions in their society: the first lady of Mexico Mrs. Margarita Zavala and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mexico Mrs. Patricia Espinosa. That is why I want to express my greatest appreciation and gratitude to the numerous sponsors of this great event, including Google, Nissan, RIM, Scotia bank. Without them this Summit couldn't be possible.