During Women’s History Month, seven women, one from each Special Olympics Region, shared their unique stories of what it was like to participate in and plan a World Games.
As President of Special Olympics Russia, the host Program for the next World Winter Games, what is your role in coordinating the Games?
I see myself in the role of a leader who mobilizes and cements the whole team around the successful implementation, preparation and staging of the World Winter Games in Kazan, both at the local and federal level.
What is your most important goal in hosting the World Winter Games in Kazan in 2022?
I have two main goals. First, to demonstrate to the world that when people are interested in positive development, interested in understanding and accepting each other as they are, any difficulties can be overcome for the sake of peace and the future of our planet.
The second most important goal is the legacy of the Games for our country, the introduction of an inclusive culture into Russian society, change and modernization of the Russian legislation concerning the lives of people with intellectual disabilities.
What advice would you share with women who aspire to be in a role like yours?
Don't be afraid of anything! And know that aggression never breeds support, so be persistent but benevolent in spreading your ideas.
Who is your female role model?
I've had no idols since childhood, but if we speak about a role model, this is undoubtedly Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who has changed attitudes toward people with intellectual disabilities and shown them what they can do and that they are part of a world that loves and waits for them. And, of course, Eunice has brought her passion for Special Olympics to her entire family, who continue this worthy cause with flying colors.
Why is Women’s History Month important and what does it mean to you?
In Russia, we love the holiday of March 8, all women receive flowers and gifts. Today, it seems to me, in our country and all over the world, the view of women's history and women's role in modern society has changed. In the 1990s, I was one of the first businesswomen, and today a huge number of women are successfully engaged in both business and other male professions. I am very happy that women in Russia are pushing the boundaries of their capabilities and choosing for themselves what to do, where to study, where to work, and how to live.