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350 GBV survivors get new professional competencies in IT in frames of the Equality Springboard project

May 11, 2021, Kyiv, UNFPA Ukraine presented IT courses for women in difficult life circumstances, including GBV survivors, which will allow them to get a new competitive profession in IT and become economically independent. The event has been conducted in frames of the "Equality to Springboard" Project, implemented by UNFPA Ukraine in partnership with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine with the financial support from Sweden. 
 
Nearly 600 women die each year due to domestic violence in Ukraine, and the economic cost of violence against women amounts USD 208 million per year. During the COVID-19 epidemic, the combination of stay-at-home policy, financial pressure and loosing of routine rhythm of life creates favorable conditions for domestic violence: during the first month when COVID-19 lockdown restrictions were enforced, the National Domestic Violence Hotline reported upsurge in calls by 93%, with 95% of calls from women and girls. The risk of gender-based violence is particularly higher for women from vulnerable groups, who are heavily dependent on external support and care.
 
One of the reasons that often prevents women from getting out of the abusive cycle of violence is the economic dependence on the perpetrator. To address these issues, UNFPA Ukraine in partnership with IT schools Beetroot Academy (Kyiv) and Logos IT Academy (Lviv) conducts IT courses aimed at expanding employment opportunities for women suffering from domestic violence. During the project, 350 women will receive a new IT specialization while the key focus of the IT training includes Java, JavaScript, PHP software engineering; QA engineering; UI/UX web design; project management. Participants will gain new knowledge in the IT field, which will allow them to be more competitive in the labor market, consult career counselors who will provide individual support in the job search process, and get psychological assistance. The first cohort of 200 participants will start training in May 2021 and will study for the next six months.
"According to United Nations Population Fund in Ukraine data, every fourth citizen believes that a husband is justified in violence against his wife. Society requires powerful and effective initiatives to provide response to gender-based violence. This project will allow women and girls who have suffered from gender-based violence to master IT specialties, where wages are higher than average, as well as the demand for IT professionals. Participants  will get a powerful tool to improve their financial well-being and economic independence", Olga Stefanishyna, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine, said. 
"The overarching Swedish principle for gender equality is that everyone, regardless of gender, has the right to work and support themselves, to balance career and family life, and to live without the fear of abuse or violence. It is especially important in the times of uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. I am confident that this project will open new doors for women in challenging life circumstances. Since IT- sector is one of the most competitive in Ukraine and more men and women can economically benefit from working in it. Therefore, we consider our support for IT-education for women an important element of the promotion of inclusive economic growth in Ukraine, for the benefit of every Ukrainian citizen", Tobias Thyberg, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Sweden to Ukraine, said.
"This project is another step forward in the implementation of Ukraine's commitments as a member of the Biarritz Partnership. Our aim in this project is to strengthen the economic independence of women in complex life circumstances and to ensure stereotype-free career choices for all women. The IT sector has set a clear example for other sectors: every year more and more women in Ukraine start their careers in IT, successfully proving that there are no "male" or "female" professions anymore and untapping all their great potential for the progress of their communities and of Ukraine as a whole", Jaime Nadal, Head of the United Nations Population Fund in Ukraine, UNFPA, said.