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EU and UNFPA join their efforts to provide gender-responsive emergency support to address the COVID-19 aftermath and strengthen gender equality in Ukraine within the flagman programme ‘WE ACT: Women Empowerment Action’. The Programme is aimed to protect women from gender-based violence (GBV), remove barriers for women’s leadership and support female frontline  healthcare responders to COVID-19.


Read more about the Programme:


“This 18-month Programme is developed to strengthen women’s rights, opportunities, and resilience by mitigating COVID-19 aftermath, identifying opportunities for addressing gender gaps and improving capacities of CSOs to promote gender equality, dismantle gender stereotypes and hold duty bearers accountable for the implementation of gender equality commitments in the long run. Together with UNFPA we support women in Ukraine and respond to the main pandemic-based challenges from a gender angle”,Tetiana Shulha, Gender focal point at the European Union Delegation to Ukraine.

COVID-19 revealed the essential roles that women play in society: as leaders, as entrepreneurs, as frontline healthcare workers, as trusted community leaders. But it also revealed the fragility of a social construct that depends on women performing multiple and often underpaid, invisible roles.  It also puts women and girls at higher risk of suffering from violence, limiting their bodily autonomy and their access to basic public services such as health, education and social protection. WE ACT Programme streamed to the most affected aspects to ensure women’s security, wellbeing and opportunities”, Jaime Nadal, UNFPA Representative in Ukraine, said.


WE ACT Programme consists of 3 components:


  • We Act for women protection from GBV. The growing number of GBV cases requires strengthening and expansion of the existing GBV services  at the local level. Civil society organizations that have experience in working with survivors and those at risk of GBV can fill in the existing gap in provision of such services. Programme addresses growing demand in quality services for GBV cases through enhancing civil society organisations in 12 regions of Ukraine and providing seed funding for the respective CSOs.
  • We Act for frontline female healthcare responders to COVID-19. Since in Ukraine women represent 83.1 percent of healthcare workers, it is critical to support their needs, including on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response. Given that women provide the main part of primary healthcare interventions including frontline interaction at the community level it is concerning that not enough attention is given to how their work environment may be discriminatory, as well as what their sexual and reproductive health needs are as frontline healthcare workers. Programme provides female sanitary kits for healthcare workers which is crucial for their female health and dignity.
  • We Act to remove barriers for women leadership. In the attempt to shift the paradigm and introduce innovative approaches to our work on fighting gender inequality, we have identified female diplomacy both professional and public as an entry point that will allow us to enhance capacity and engage a greater audience to raise awareness on the benefits of gender equality.


“Every day, Ukrainian women and girls have faced gender stereotypes, sexism and discrimination, which develop barriers to their personal and professional development. Athletes are leaders of thoughts, examples of leadership and will. Having effective tools in hands, they are able to promote women's leadership and gender equality. This is the focus of one of the components of the WE ACT program. Expanding the economic, social and political opportunities of women and using 100% of their potential is the key to Ukraine's success,” said First Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzhaparova.

“I am happy to be a part of the WE ACT program - to study from and share experience with a female colleague from the diplomatic service. As an athlete, I have repeatedly felt the pressure of gender stereotypes, so I am ready to work for the benefit of athletes of future generations." said Anna Rizatdinova, Bronze medalist of the 2016 Olympic Games.


Mentioned components ensure mitigation of negative economic, social, psychological, health, security implications of COVID-19 pandemic on women and girls and support promotion of gender equality across Ukraine.


Background: Programme “WE ACT: Women Empowerment Action” is funded by the European Union and is implemented by UNFPA Ukraine. Programme lasts from April 2021 till October 2022.

For more information please contact UNFPA Ukraine Communications and Advocacy Officer, Alona Zubchenko,