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 2016 UNDP Human Development Report shows Ukraine has a Gender Inequality Index that in 2015 ranked the country in the upper third at 55th out of 188 countries.

While gender* equality is stated as 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 and advertising.
*Gender is a social construct that differentiates the power, roles, responsibilities and obligations of women from that of men in society – USAID Policy of Gender Equality and Female Empowerment

PROGRAM OBJECTIVES:

To improve the lives of Ukrainians by advancing equality between females and males and empowering women and girls to participate fully in and benefit from opportunities in society.

USAID investments are aimed at three overarching outcomes. These outcomes will be adapted and translated into specific results with associated targets and indicators in strategic planning. 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 in the economic, social, political, and cultural realm;
  • Reduce gender-based violence and mitigate its harmful effects on individuals and communities; and
  • Increase the capability of women and girls to realize their rights, determine their life outcomes, and influence decision-making in households, communities, and society. 

OVERVIEW:

USAID considers gender issues when designing, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating any of its programs. 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.

USAID/Ukraine’s Gender Analysis provided an overview of the most significant gender issues affecting Ukraine as well as challenges that may arise over the next several years USAID/Ukraine Gender Analysis Report is available here.

Together with other donors and the Vice Prime Minister on EU and Euro-Atlantic Integration, USAID/Ukraine advances of gender equality by raising gender priorities to the level of the Cabinet of Ministers and the Parliament, and improving accountability, oversight, and coordination with all stakeholders.

DEMOCRACY AND GOVERNANCE

  • USAID promotes awareness of gender equity among human rights defenders, civic activists, and lawyers. It monitors and includes data on women's rights, gender discrimination, and gender-based violence (GBV) in the annual Human Rights in Ukraine report.
  • USAID supports gender awareness 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 developed a gender sensitivity index that assesses parliament gender sensitivity to address gender gaps in the Ukrainian government.
  • USAID works to integrate gender equality in justice sector reform and promote leadership of women judges by conducting training programs and promoting leadership, gender awareness, and gender sensitiveness within the judiciary
  • USAID assists the judiciary in affording greater protections to sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) survivors, other vulnerable groups, and witnesses by supporting greater access to justice.
  • USAID assists in training judges, court staff, and advocates with an emphasis on human rights law and international standards for gender equality.
  • USAID supports Counter Trafficking-in-Persons (CTIP) work and increased attention to the growing number of male victims of labor trafficking. USAID works to ensure a gender-sensitive approach to provide equal access to reintegration services.

ECONOMIC GROWTH:

  • USAID trains local government officials on developing a gender-responsive, performance-based budget that meets the needs of men and women of different social status.
  • Through its financial sector activity, USAID increases financial inclusion and expands digital finance solutions, with an emphasis on internally displaced and conflict-affected persons, such as pensioners, youth, small farmers, and women and girls in particular. USAID also works to improve women entrepreneur’s access to financial resources, their understanding of the range of financial services available to them, and mechanisms to mitigate risks. USAID supports the financial literacy of the general population so that people understand the risks and benefits of using banking and other financial services, with specific 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 and conferences.

HEALTH:

  • 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, which was supported by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). USAID uses the assessment and recommendations to design programs that ensure equal access to HIV and TB services.
  • USAID advocates for policies that address gender-specific issues affecting access to services for women who have HIV or tuberculosis, and who inject drugs. Local governments, as a part of the health decentralization process, are bringing HIV and TB treatment services closer to the home to improve access and adherence of HIV+ and HIV/TB co-infected women to treatment schedules.
  • USAID’s RESPOND project supported testing and counselling services of sexual partners of people living with HIV. The intervention demonstrated high HIV prevalence among sexual partners and is currently being scaled up and supported by the Global Fund.
  • USAID supports the improvement of HIV services by promoting a doctor-friendly and case-management approach for various vulnerable population groups, including men who have sex with men – who may face stigma and discrimination from their health providers within the HealthLink project.
  • USAID’s ServingLife project will improve HIV, TB, and Hepatitis C services for female prisoners in 12 oblasts of Ukraine including the government-controlled territories of Donetsk. It will ensure that female prisoners have equal access to all services, including opioid-substitution therapy for injecting drug users.
  • USAID’s SafeMed project will ensure and promote gender equality with access to pharmaceutical commodities and supplies.
  • USAID’s HIV Reform in Action project will continue to ensure that all project activities are gender sensitive and have equal participation by men and women.

Last updated: November 14, 2017

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