Central European Conference on Women’s Empowerment: Strength – Courage – Solidarity

Alice Veselá reports on the March 2022 training conference of the National Democratic Institute in Warsaw, Poland.

The National Democratic Institute (NDI) works to empower women to overcome barriers to their equal and active political participation. This conference served as a venue for female representatives of national, ethnic and religious minority communities in Central Europe, to share their experiences and learn best practices from one another for dealing with the barriers that we all face in public life.

The NDI invited participants from the V4 countries (Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic), and it was great to meet up again with our ICJW sisters after such a long time.

Our photo shows ICJW members (l to r): Katalin Pécsi (Hungary), Anna Makówka (Poland), Yael Brunner (Czech), Anna Zielińska (Poland), Marta Gyoriová (Slovakia), Alice Veselá (Czech), and Verona Miletinova (Czech).

The NDI invited experts to facilitate the training, and to share examples and practical communication tools and tactics to help women overcome these challenges more effectively. We learned tips and practical advice from an expert in networking, helping us to connect on a deeper level with each other so as to maintain our relationships and continue our joint efforts.

During the panel discussion between women leaders from the V4 countries, we discussed the imperative to support women leaders now, in order to combat the disproportionate effect that discrimination has had on women and leadership, and how doing so also advances diversity and inclusion.

Among the participants were refugees from the Ukraine, and this enabled us to speak to them in person about their situation. Poland it the main country supporting the refugees. Even before the war in Ukraine, there were 1.5 million refugees in Poland. There are now about 3.5 million. In Warsaw we could see how well everything was organized for them at the train station and at the Ukrainian Embassy. The Jewish Community in Warsaw is currently taking care of around 20 thousand Jewish refugees from the Ukraine.