The full-scale war has shown the strength of women’s leadership in Ukraine. Today, women show leadership in many areas – in volunteering, in reconstruction, in politics, in public activities, in protecting their families and children.
This was emphasised by Oksana Zholnovych, Minister of Social Policy, in her welcoming speech at the All-Ukrainian Forum “Women’s Leadership in Time of War”. She also explained what the Ministry of Social Policy was doing to promote equal rights for men and women in Ukraine.
“First of all, we continue to develop systemic programme documents that allow us to promote gender equality in Ukraine. The most important one is the Strategy for Equal Rights for Men and Women until 2030. We have included a number of aspects in the document that address the challenges of full-scale invasion. We also amended the action plan for the strategic document “Women. Peace. Security’ to strengthen women’s leadership, gender equality and enable women’s development in all areas,” Oksana Zholnovych said.
According to the Minister, the difficult economic situation in the country has had a negative impact on the incomes of the population, especially families of women with children. As a result, she said, the Ministry of Social Policy, with the support of international organisations, is increasing opportunities for social assistance and developing projects aimed at increasing women’s economic independence.
“Unfortunately, a huge number of so-called typical women’s jobs today are low paid. And we know that the gender pay gap still exists,” she said.
Oksana Zholnovych also stressed the importance of the social sphere, which had taken on particular significance in the context of the challenges of a full-scale war. Today, almost two-thirds of Ukrainian citizens are in need of social and psychosocial support. “The role of professionals working in this field is growing – they need to be paid a decent wage for their work. That is why we are changing the rules and approaches to remuneration of social workers, the vast majority of whom are women,” the Minister stressed.
She also focused on the role of the Ministry of Social Policy in the process of transforming volunteering in Ukraine into a systemic phenomenon. According to her, Ukraine is a unique example of volunteer activity and cohesion. But at the same time, it needs to be streamlined and systematic. “That is why we want to create volunteer activity units in resilience centres, which will be set up in Ukrainian communities. In these centres, Ukrainians will be able to learn how to volunteer, acquire the necessary skills, improve their qualifications and coordinate. The role of women will also be very important here, as they are now taking various powerful volunteer initiatives to support both the Army and the civilian population,” concluded Oksana Zholnovych.