GENDER EQUALITY AND WOMEN'S EMPOWERMENT

Leap into the Future: the Parliamentary Internship Alumni.
Leap into the Future: the Parliamentary Internship Alumni.
Olha Myrtsalo
THE CHALLENGE
The 2013 UNDP Human Development Report shows Ukraine has a Gender Inequality Index that in 2012 ranked the country in the upper third at 57th out of 186 countries included.

While gender has been stated to be a Government of Ukraine priority and multiple actions have been taken to show this commitment, several challenges and obstacles remain, which explain and contribute to Ukraine’s poor gender equality rankings, including: the non-prioritization of gender equality in national policy and administrative reforms; the non‐integration of gender in national statistics, planning, budgeting, and monitoring and evaluation of State programs; overt sexism in mass media, advertising, and from public officials; and lack of donor coordination and commitment to mainstreaming gender into programs and development considerations.

PROGRAM OBJECTIVES
To improve the lives of citizens in Ukraine by advancing equality between females and males, and empowering women and girls to participate fully in and benefit from the development of their societies.

USAID investments are aimed at three overarching outcomes. In strategic planning at the country or project level, these outcomes will be adapted and translated into specific results with associated targets and indicators. These outcomes, which are especially important for people who are marginalized or excluded due to ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, lack of income, disability or other factors, reflect the gamut of activities that USAID undertakes across multiple sectors and fields:

  • Reduce gender disparities in access to, control over and benefit from resources, wealth, opportunities and services economic, social, political, and cultural;
  • Reduce gender-based violence and mitigate its harmful effects on individuals and communities; and
  • Increase capability of women and girls to realize their rights, determine their life outcomes, and influence decision-making in households, communities, and society.

OVERVIEW
USAID/Ukraine uses a cross-cutting approach of integrating gender concerns in all its programs. Gender integration is an ongoing process of assessing the implications of any planned initiative for both women and men, including in legislation, policies, and programs on all levels. This strategic approach allows USAID to make gender concerns an integral dimension in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programs.

DEMOCRACY AND GOVERNANCE

  • USAID supports better representation and inclusion of women in political parties and political processes (female voter outreach and discussion of gender issues).
  • USAID increases women’s participation in policy and legislative decision-making and brings heightened awareness of gender issues to the Parliament of Ukraine. USAID supports a nascent women’s caucus in the Parliament of Ukraine that allows women legislators to develop a common agenda.
  • USAID supports women-led civil society and media organizations (including female journalists) that address gender issues.
  • USAID assistance improves access to justice for women with support to the National Legal Aid Coalition (inclusive of five women’s rights nongovernmental organizations). USAID also improves women’s empowerment in the judiciary and increases awareness of human rights in the courts.
  • USAID supports Counter Trafficking-in-Persons (CTIP) work and increases attention to the growing number of male victims of trafficking.

ECONOMIC GROWTH

  • USAID trains municipal partners on gender consideration when developing local budgets using the performance-based budgeting method.
  • USAID equally offers financial literacy courses for female and male schoolchildren.
  • USAID increases women’s financial literacy, entrepreneurial skills, and access to finance as a means to build a new culture of female business and civic leadership. Special attention is given to low-income groups, such as widowed women, mothers of many children, single mothers, and those living in rural areas.
  • USAID works with a variety of rural agricultural actors to improve women’s involvement in decision-making and support their access and management of agricultural land. 
  • USAID agricultural assistance program completed a national gender analysis of rural agriculture issues and opportunities to help shape Ukrainian policy initiatives with a focus on the needs of rural women and communities. Findings and recommendations were widely disseminated among government and non-government stakeholders initiating a strategic dialogue on mainstreaming gender considerations into government policies. 

HEALTH

  • USAID works at the national and regional levels to improve women’s access to quality contraception and reduce unwanted pregnancies and abortions.
  • USAID supports NGOs to reduce the risk of HIV transmission and improve the quality of HIV/AIDS services for men who have sex with men.
  • USAID assistance provides HIV testing, counseling, prevention, and other services to vulnerable women (injecting drugs users and women affected by gender-based violence), their families, and NGOs that support them. 
  • USAID is piloting an intervention to reduce alcohol and tobacco use in pregnant women and women of reproductive age (15-49 years). 

 

Last updated: August 28, 2014

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