The Government is supporting women in their efforts to achieve greater financial capability and opportunities in business by offering them grant programmes, training and retraining options, and by implementing measures to close the gender pay gap. This was stated by Yuliia Svyrydenko, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy of Ukraine, in her speech at the 7th Ukrainian Women’s Congress.
She recalled that last summer the Government launched grant programmes to help women start or expand their own businesses. In particular, under the Vlasna Sprava (Own Business) programme, women can receive a micro-grant of up to UAH 250,000 and a grant of up to UAH 8 million to develop a business in the processing industry. In addition, women veterans or wives of Ukrainian defenders can receive up to UAH 1 million under the veterans’ grant programme.
“To date, almost 11,000 Ukrainians have received funding under the Vlasna Sprava programme, 54% of whom are women. This grant programme is in great demand. Despite the ongoing war in the country, Ukrainians are ready to start and develop businesses, to work and to take responsibility. That is why we have doubled the budget for this programme for next year and plan to issue about 14,000 grants worth UAH 3.5 billion,” said Yuliia Svyrydenko.
The Government is also working on implementing programmes to support the education and retraining of Ukrainians. Indeed, one of the most acute problems, exacerbated by the war, is structural unemployment. That is, when the skills of people available on the labour market do not match the needs of employers looking for workers. One of the initiatives aimed at solving this problem is the training vouchers offered by the State Employment Service.
“A voucher for training is almost UAH 27,000, which can be spent on self-development and acquiring a competitive profession that is more in demand on the labour market. There are 124 professions and specialities. To date, more than 17,000 Ukrainians have received vouchers. Women are the most likely to use them – 71%. The most popular professions among women are psychology, healthcare, education and social work. At the same time, we are seeing a trend where women are also choosing to study to become drivers, security guards, tractor drivers, lathe operators, electric and gas welders, and there was even a woman who studied to become an electric train driver,” said Yuliia Svyrydenko.
She also recalled that the Ministry of Economy had engaged partners to help Ukrainians with training and retraining. In particular, the Projector Foundation, with the support of the Ministry of Economy, has launched a project to provide free training for women – over the course of a year, 1,000 Ukrainian women will be able to receive free training in the creative and IT industries. The project is open to internally displaced women and women who have left Ukraine and received temporary protection status in another country.
“In the first two days alone, the partners received five times more applications than the programme had anticipated, which means that the demand from women for self-development and leadership is incredible. Especially in times of war, when they are increasingly taking responsibility and becoming initiators of both business and leadership initiatives in their communities,” concluded Yuliia Svyrydenko.