On Women’s Rights Day, TheMerode shifts the focus on the rights and representation of women around the world.

On February 24 2022, Poutine’s troupes invaded Ukraine plunging Europe into an military and diplomatic war. Since the beginning of the conflict, women have been at the forefront, whether enrolling in the military or providing services for civilians.

Conflicts have a disproportionate impact on women and girls. This part of the population is subjected to a heightened risk due to displacement and breakdowns of the normal protections in society. The use of sexual violence as a tactic of war makes them all the more vulnerable and is a continuous impediment to peace and security with long-lasting repercussions on individuals and communities.

How are women affecting negotiation outcomes? What is their distinctive approach to handling conflict? In what ways do they contribute to maintaining a stable civilian environment?

Within this European context, TheMerode is inviting speakers who, through their experience and profession, participate in raising awareness and fighting for the protection of women’s rights and security in conflict areas.



Bénédicte Borel is leading the good governance and integrity political and capacity building initiative for the defence and related security sector in an international organisation. Her responsibilities consist in policy and capacity building at negotiation, design, deliver and assessment levels at headquarters and in-country including in the context of military operations and wars.  She is also responsible for the overall strategy of this initiative and the management of the team.  Over the past almost twenty years, her work in international organisations has been leading Bénédicte from Colombia to Afghanistan and Central Asia, North Africa, the Caucasus, Republic of Moldva, the Western Balkans, Ukraine and Russia.  Before focusing on the defence and security sector reforms, she participated in numerous elections observation missions and worked in the academic environment where she remains very active.  As such, she teaches and publishes on a regular basis. Her last work, “From Gorbatchev to Zelensky: which future for the democratic values?” a bilingual French and English book was published in May 2022.

Oleksandra Horchynska is a journalist from Kyiv, Ukraine. For several years, she has been working for NV, a Ukrainian media outlet, where her responsibilities include preparing longreads for the website, and occasionally writing for other magazines and newspapers.

Oleksandra focuses on social issues in her work, including gender equality, human rights, healthcare, migration, LGBT+ topics, HIV, domestic violence prevention, mental health, death, and sexual violence amongst other topics.

The war launched by Russia in Ukraine on February 24, 2022, has caused Ukrainian journalists, including Oleksandra, to deal with trauma-related topics every day. As a result, in 2023, with the support of the Media Development Foundation, Oleksandra has launched an online course called Sensitive Journalism, aimed at assisting young journalists who work with similar sensitive topics.

She is a member of the NGO Women in media, a group that brings together women from various media fields. The organization provides a safe and supportive community for women, as well as opportunities to enhance and develop their skills.



Virginie Herz is a managing editor, chief of the reporters team at the international news channel France 24, where she previously worked as a senior foreign affairs editor and created ‘Actuelles’, a show about women’s rights that she anchored for nine years. Franco-German, Virginie Herz studied political science, European affairs and journalism in France and in Germany with stints in the UK and Spain. She started her career a as a freelance correspondent in Thailand, and coveredmany international stories from high-level summits to the civil war in Libya and the Arab Spring as a reporter (filming and on-air correspondent.) Her report on the Guinean putsch leader, Dadis Camara, was nominated for two major French Journalism awards (Albert Londres, Bayeux). In 2018, she won the gold medal in broadcast journalism (the Ricardo Ortega prize) awarded by the U.N. Correspondents’ Association for her show highlighting gender inequalities.


  • 11:30 > Welcome
  • 12:00 – 13:00 > Panel Talk and Q&A
  • 13:00 – 13:30 > Light Lunch


The event has been cancelled off due to cancelation of panelist.

TheMerode, is a private social members club, where comfort, glamour and intimacy coexist through and for our members. They are at the heart of everything we do and we strive to make them feel home. That’s why all our events are exclusively organized for our members and their guests.


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