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UN experts met with young women activists – participants of the All-Ukrainian Leadership Programme “First Step to Success”

UN RC and UNFPA, UN Women, UNDP and UNAIDS Representatives held a meeting with Ukrainian Women’s Fund and young women-leaders – participants of Fund’s “First Step to Success” All-Ukrainian Leadership Programme, during which discussed the importance of supporting women’s initiatives and participation in politics and decision-making.

The UN experts gave a broad overview on UN activities globally and specifically in Ukraine aimed at addressing various gender issues. Speakers explained the important impact of the globally agreed initiatives as the Millennium Development Goals or the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, on gender situation in Ukraine. They spoke of gender budgeting, stereotypes and sexism in advertising. The experts presented data on critical issues to be addressed, among them low gender parity within authorities and public administration and a wage gap between men and women of about 30 percent.

“In order to address critical gender issues in the country it is very important to hear the voices of women in Ukraine and ensure inclusiveness and integration of women and men in Ukrainian society at all levels, - said Nuzhat Ehsan, Resident Representative of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).

12 participants of the leadership programme from different cities of Ukraine – Odessa, Lviv, Zhytomyr, Mariupil, Poltava, Kakhovka already have experiences in leading programmes aimed at improving their communities. Some of them created their own civil society organization or plan to do it in 2014-2015.

Natalia Shegda-Danyliv from Lviv said: “Even though there are many bright students to choose from, positions in local governing bodies are often given to those who don’t have the knowledge and sufficient experiences for the job. That’s why I decided to start providing educating programmes to those who are planning to compete for the public servants positions and willing to bring about positive changes.”

“Women in Ukraine have great potential to develop their leadership skills and ensure better representation in central and local governmental bodies, - said Alessandra Tisot, UN Resident Coordinator. - I often visit UN project sites and meet there very strong women-leaders, but at the level of Ukrainian parliament or government the percentage of women occupying senior positions is very low”.

Through promoting gender equality as a driver of economic competitiveness and social welfare, the UN system in Ukraine works to support civil society, the private sector and state institutions in Ukraine to ensure the political, social and economic inclusion of women. Policies, programmes and measures are undertaken at national and sub-national levels by UN agencies, funds and programmes, to accelerate empowerment of women and to facilitate Ukraine’s adherence to international treaty obligations including achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

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Gender Data

Political participation. Though 76% of civil servants and 51% of village council members are women, they are concentrated at lower managerial levels and have very weak impact on decisions. Only 9,4% of national parliamentarians and 13% of cabinet members are women. The tendency is that the higher the post – the fewer women.

Economic participation. Women’s contribution to measured economic activity is far below its potential. Horizontal and vertical gender-based occupational segregation is observed in the labor market with women concentrated in low-paid economic sectors and with limited access to top management positions in all sectors of economy. The level of female economic activity in working age remains low (68,7%), compared to male (77.2%), according to official statistics, although the unemployment level is higher among men of working age than among women: 8.9% compared to 7.2% were unemployed (as percentage to the economically active population of the same age group). Among the officially registered unemployed population women comprised 41% (2012 data of the State Statistics Service of Ukraine).

Violence against women. Though there is legislation specifically addressing violence against women including, over 90,000 cases of violence against women are registered each year.

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First Step to Success Program was launched in 2006 by Ukrainian Women’s Fund, the Center for Ukrainian Reform Education (CURE), the Women’s Health and Family Planning Foundation as well as charitable foundations “Help Us Help the Children - Ukraine”, the Ukrainian Children’s Aid and Relief Effort - (UCARE). The program's goal is to promote leadership skills among Ukrainian girls to inspire them to become participants in Ukraine's social sphere and in lives of their communities. More information regarding the programme: http://firststep.uwf.kiev.ua/eng/idea