Russische Föderation: Natalya Berezhnaya

A world without women's participation in decision-making processes at all levels has no future.”

— Natalya Berezhnaya

Natalya Berezhnaya was born in 1930. Since the 1950s, she has been involved in the areas of peace building, gender equality, and conflict resolution. She has always been active in various Soviet and Russian women's organizations and has worked for the UN. Her recent activism focuses on the elimination of violence against women, on women trafficking and domestic violence, as well as women's contribution to conflict resolution and disarmament. She has a particular interest in bringing about peace in the Caucasus. The success of her efforts is reflected in the numerous awards she has received.

Natalya Berezhnaya was just 12 years old when, during World War II, she was evacuated with her family from Stalingrad to the small town of Krasny Kut. Everyone was suffering from hunger. One day, her mother, a very kind and gentle person, gave a captured German soldier a piece of bread. Some women who witnessed this exclaimed angrily: “They kill our husbands and sons!” Yet they were silenced and shamed when her mother calmly replied: “But they too are somebody's husbands and children.” Memories of childhood often leave lasting traces in people's lives. So, too, in Natalya's life. This experience, amongst others, triggered her activism in women's and peace movements, and today she is a shining star in the women's movement of Russia. She is a historian by training, a philosopher by conviction, a mother, grandmother, and a true friend. Battling on various fronts, Natalya pays special attention to the most pressing problems of domestic violence, women trafficking, and gender inequality. Her lectures in different cities across Russia are usually attended by many, since she is not only an intellectual, but also has a strong sense of humor and has remained youthful and witty. Natalya's memorable words and phrases are frequently quoted, and some have even attained the status of ‘classics.’ Many people turn to her for advice and to find answers to their questions because they trust her. On the local level, Natalya is not only a committed member of the Women of Moscow, but also regularly takes an active part in the cultural and sport events that are organized by the Central Sport Club Spartak on International Women's Day on 8 March. Despite her global outlook, Natalya is an ardent patriot. She is committed to the humanistic ideals that shaped so much of Russia's history. She is an advocate of negotiations as opposed to violent confrontation.

Ravenstvo i mir–ARM (Equality and Peace) Zhenschiny Moskvy (Women of Moscow) Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (Wilpf)