BRICS Civil Forum 2020. Oksana Pushkina: “The importance of international cooperation within BRICS cannot be overestimated”
- Ms Pushkina, how significantly has the women’s rights and opportunities situation throughout the world changed in recent years?
Well, every year of course, women are playing an increasingly more important role in the modern world. This happens due to the fundamental changes in the global economy and their socio-demographic consequences. These processes take time, which means significant changes in women's rights and opportunities are unlikely to occur in a matter of just a few years; their cycles are measured in decades. For example, we are aware that today, women enjoy three quarters of the legal rights that men have, but half a century ago, they had less than half of those rights. I am now citing “Women, Business and the Law 2020”, a major study conducted by the World Bank. As Russia's Special Representative in the World Bank's Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative as part of G20, I can really say that women's empowerment has happened as a result of reforms, most of them involving the protection of working parents’ jobs and rights, so to say, they were dictated by economic reasons.
- How will the synergy of BRICS countries help address the existing problems more effectively?
The BRICS countries have enormous potential, and the pace of economic recovery in each of them will depend on the intensity of cooperation between us. We can only hope that all transport and logistics problems caused by the pandemic will come to an end as quickly as possible. We also have tremendous opportunities for scientific cooperation. Russia has made fast progress in developing a COVID-19 vaccine, and our results can be used by our BRICS partners. China, India, Brazil and South Africa have their own know-how that can be effectively applied in the fight against the virus. The importance of international cooperation in this field can hardly be overestimated.
The BRICS Civil Forum was one of the first major events to be held offline. Have your impressions, of the Forum in general, lived up to your expectations?
The Forum was very-well organized, and I really felt that atmosphere of unity there. All the participants were on the same page, and actually meeting in-person and speaking with people was like a breath of fresh air for me after endless Zoom conferences. It was quite upbeat and forward-looking. I do hope that the proposals we made will be taken into account by the decision-makers and then implemented.