On 8 September, the Women Political Leaders (WPL) global network together with the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs organised an online event entitled ‘Women Rising for Democracy’ during which female leaders across the world shared their experiences and ideas to strengthen the role of women in democracy. European Union Vice-President and Commissioner Věra Jourová and Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya were among the guest speakers.
Opening the event, Vice-President Jourová expressed her solidarity with all Belarusian women and proudly underlined the rapid reaction from the EU to condemn the August elections. She also stressed the need for a national, inclusive dialogue and the continued fight for freedom and democracy.
“If we had more women in decision-making positions, the world would be a better place to live”, Jourová said, urging women across the world to demand full participation in the political and economic lives in order to build an inclusive, resilient and democratic society, along with accountable and transparent institutions. Policies, such as achieving more economic fairness and combatting gender violence, are also among the EU’s priorities, she underlined.
In her intervention, opposition leader Tsikhanouskaya shared her story and motivation behind her decision to run in the Belarus presidential elections last month.
"It was not my choice to become a leader, I took such responsibility because somebody had to. […] It was difficult, it was even scary. I think every day about what happened to our country and look for the best solution”, she said.
Tsikhanouskaya also highlighted the role women have always played in the frontlines of Belarus and called for solidarity from the international community.
“Lukashenko lost the elections the moment he underestimated the power of women”, she remarked.
I stand by all women in #Belarus. I remember to live in a totalitarian regime; what strength it required to take it down. You have my full support #womenleaders. Thank you @WPLeadersOrg & @LithuaniaMFA for the event and opportunity to express my respect to #SvetlanaTikhanovskaya. pic.twitter.com/kyWkOO6FgK— Věra Jourová (@VeraJourova) September 8, 2020