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 considers gender when designing, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating any program. Gender integration refers to the process of assessing the potentially disparate effects of any planned project on women and men, particularly projects in which USAID effects long-term changes to legislation and policy.

DEMOCRACY AND GOVERNANCE

  • USAID supports the 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 legislation and raises gender awareness among parliamentarians by supporting a nascent women’s caucus through which women legislators plan a common agenda.
  • USAID assisted in the development and adoption of Ukraine's first National Human Rights Strategy, which combats discrimination, ensures gender equality, and counters domestic and gender-based violence (GBV).
  • USAID sponsored two fact-finding monitoring missions to eastern Ukraine with a focus on gender-based violence in armed conflict zones. Findings and recommendations of the fact-fact finding mission will inform strategic litigation by the European Court of Human Rights.
  • USAID supports women-led civil society and media organizations (including women journalists) that address gender issues.
  • In the justice sector, USAID trained 60 GOU representatives to consider gender when drafting priority legislation on vetting and lustration of public officials. With USAID’s support, Ministry of Justice and High Council of Justice incorporated provisions of the Law on Equal Rights and Opportunities into Ukraine’s overall legal framework.
  • USAID helped the Ministry on Social Policy build a web page hosting teaching how Ukrainians can protect themselves from gender discrimination and domestic violence.
  • USAID assists the National Legal Aid Coalition (inclusive of five women’s rights nongovernmental organizations) to improve access to justice for women. USAID also improves women’s empowerment in the judiciary and increases human rights awareness in the courts.
  • USAID supports Counter Trafficking-in-Persons (CTIP) work and draws attention to the growing number of men becoming victims of trafficking.

ECONOMIC GROWTH

  • USAID trains municipal partners on factoring in gender as a step in drafting performance-based budgets. USAID works with a variety of rural agricultural actors to get women more involved in making management decisions related to the administration of agricultural land.
  • USAID agricultural assistance programs support capacity building in public and private agriculture organizations around Ukraine. These programs teach gender equality, women’s empowerment, and gender strategy design and usage in community development, with an emphasis on USAID’s priority of decentralization.

HEALTH

  • Under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), USAID conducted an assessment to identify gender-specific vulnerabilities, needs, barriers, and gaps to accessing and adhering to the comprehensive HIV services – from testing to viral load suppression – for women and men who inject drugs, their sexual partners, and men who have sex with men. Recommendations from the assessment report will inform integration of gender mainstreaming in PEPFAR programming.
  • USAID advocates policies that address gender-specific issues affecting access to services for women that inject drugs or have HIV or tuberculosis . Policies that bring treatment services closer to the home improve women’s access and adherence to treatment schedules.
  • By increasing health provider skills in family planning (FP) counseling and supporting national and regional FP policy development, USAID expands access to, and uptake of, modern forms of contraception, enabling women and their partners to proactively plan their families and reducing the incidence of abortion.
  • USAID helps HIV positive women with small children to find employment, which is shown to improve their adherence to anti-retroviral treatment.
  • USAID works with the National Association of Disabled People to make reproductive health care services accessible to women with physical disabilities.

Last updated: August 02, 2016

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