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 issues 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 promotes awareness of gender equity among human rights defenders, civic activists and lawyers. Monitors and includes chapters on women's rights, gender discrimination and gender-based violence (GBV) in the annual Human Rights in Ukraine report.
  • USAID supports gender sessions for political parties to increase women’s participation in policy and legislative decision-making and brings heightened awareness of gender issues to the Parliament of Ukraine.
  • USAID develops a gender sensitivity index that assesses parliament gender sensitivity to address gender gaps in the Ukrainian government.
  • USAID improves understanding of gender issues through media activities focused on  analysis of media content and development of  a handbook on gender for journalists.
  • USAID assists in training judges and court staff with an emphasis on human rights law, including international standards for women’s rights.
  • USAID supports Counter Trafficking-in-Persons (CTIP) work and increases attention to the growing number of male victims of labor trafficking and ensures a gender-sensitive approach for beneficiaries to provide equal access to reintegration services.

ECONOMIC GROWTH:

  • USAID trains local government officials on developing a gender-responsive performance-based budget that meets needs of men and women of different social status
  • Through its financial sector activity, USAID increases financial inclusion and expands digital finance solutions, with emphasis on internally displaced and conflict-affected persons, such as pensioners, youth, small farmers, and women and girls in particular. USG also works to improve women-entrepreneur’s access to financial resources, their understanding of the range of financial services available to them and available mechanisms to mitigate risks. USG also supports the financial literacy of the general population so that people understand the risks and benefits of using banking and other financial services, including targeted messaging to women and girls. 
  • USAID works to ensure gender equality in policy papers and legislation targeting SME development and trade. USAID programs foster women’s equal and effective participation in workshops, roundtables and conferences.  Four training modules focused on gender participation in trade matters.

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. The USAID uses assessment recommendations for designing PEPFAR projects sensitive to gender needs.
  • USAID advocates for policies that address gender-specific issues affecting access to services for women who inject drugs or have HIV or tuberculosis. Local governments as a part of health decentralization process are bringing HIV treatment services closer to the home to improve access and adherence of HIV+ women to treatment schedules.
  • By increasing health provider skills in family planning (FP) counseling and supporting FP policy development, USAID has expanded access to, and uptake of, modern methods of contraception, enabling men to proactively plan their families together with their female partners and reducing the incidence of abortion.
  • USAID helps HIV-positive women with small children to find employment or open micro-businesses, which positively influence their adherence to anti-retroviral treatment.
  • USAID in partnership with the National Association of Disabled People ensured the accessibility of reproductive health (RH) care services for women with physical disabilities in selected oblasts. It also educated young men and women with disabilities on their reproductive choices.
  • The Concept for the new State Program on Reproductive and Sexual Health for 2017-2021 has been developed. The program seeks to support State Social Services in the provision of sexual education for disabled women and to ensure their access to RH services through primary health care level.

Last updated: March 07, 2017

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