Restrictions linked to the coronavirus pandemic in autumn 2020, affected our traditional meetings of the Network of Women in Czech foreign, European and Security Policy. Four meetings organised by AMO in cooperation with the Prague-based office of the Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung, and with the financial support by the Government of the Czech Republic, took place online. Despite these complications, the project brought many interesting debates.
In October we debated with Vice President of the European Parliament Dita Charanzová about the pandemic of COVID-19 and its consequences on the functioning of the European Union. The pandemic of COVID-19 presents an unprecedented situation for the EU and its member states which in many cases reveals the weaknesses and deficiencies to which more attention should be devoted. The discussion focused mainly on its influence on the common market, trade policies, and relations of the EU with foreign partners.
In November we organised a meeting with a special envoy for the support of Czech citizens in the institutions of EU and international governmental organizations. We had the opportunity to talk with Jana Hybášková, Czech diplomat, Special Representative of the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the support of Czechs in EU institutions and international organizations, and former Member of the European Parliament. The main topic was the increase of the representation of Czech candidates for work in international organisations and institutions of the EU, which is low in comparison with other member states. The Czech Republic belongs, at the same time, to countries with a rather low representation of women in the diplomatic service. The discussion was dedicated to finding causes for this situation and potential solutions to increase the motivation of young Czech female experts to strive for positions in international institutions. The participants also discussed what are the possibilities and what particularities does a career in diplomacy bring to women.
In December the members of the Network had an opportunity to talk with Eva Horelová who leads the political situation of EU Delegation in Ankara. The main topics of the event were about the relations between European Union and Turkey, in the context of the worsening level of democracy and the rule of law taking place, the issue of agreement on illegal migration and the conflict about the reserves of natural gas in Eastern Mediterranean.
The last meeting before the end of the year focused on the activities of UN agency UN Women (United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women), which was founded in 2010 with the goal to become a central actor in the fight for enforcing the global goals of the UN in gender equality, also to remove the discrimination against women, and strengthen the positioning of women in the society. The main guest was Sue Nguyen, who has experience with working as a project manager in UN Women in Vietnam. The discussion was dedicated to concrete measures to achieve the goals, successes which were accomplished, and long term challenges that UN Women must face.