In particular, three discussion platforms were held: “Role of women in the country’s socio-political life: a view from the inside and the outside”, “Women, peace and security”, “Tired of silence! Preventing and counteracting gender-based violence against women”.
The event brought together about 400 most active women and men successful in politics and business, representatives of non-governmental organizations and the media, to unite them around the idea of gender equality in various sectors of the Ukrainian society as a basic element of the country’s sustainable development.
During the first discussion on the role of women in the country’s public and political life, speakers focused their attention on the need for greater involvement of women in the decision-making process. “75% of female civil servants do not have leadership positions. At civil service in some ministries, we have more than 85% of women. Speaking about deputy ministers, 40% of them are women. This is already a great achievement like never before. Among the members of the Government, this figure is 8.5%. We still have a lot to do to increase women’s involvement in decision-making”, said Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, Vice-Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine. According to her, the social stereotype that women have nothing to do in politics should be overcome.
During the second discussion platform on the role of women in ensuring peace and security, the speakers discussed the limitations for women in the military service, as well as ways to resolve them. Analyzing the situation in the army, Ingrid Gjerde, General Brigadier, Chief of Staff of the Norwegian Army, emphasized that women have the same rights and prospects as men. “The Norwegian defense sector has female officers in its ranks, and it is important. Women at any level can advance in office and get support from men”, Ingrid Gjerde said. However, according to the speakers, in the Ukrainian army, the number of posts for female servicemen should be expanded. The Minister of Defense Stepan Poltorak, who attended at the discussion, promised to assist in this process in every possible way, as well as to work on the abolition of restrictions on the admission of girls to military lyceums.
During the third discussion platform, speakers drew attention to the need for Ukraine to adopt the Istanbul Convention and discussed the international experience of overcoming gender-based violence. Ukrainian MP Iryna Lutsenko stressed that measures should be taken to prevent and counteract domestic violence. “Why do we have to adopt the Istanbul Convention now? Because the rates of domestic violence have tripled. This will have extremely adverse consequences for future generations, a demographic collapse”, Iryna Lutsenko emphasized.
The Congress will continue its work on 23 November. During 2 days in total, there will be 7 discussion panels dedicated to political and public empowerment of women at various levels, involving women in the peacemaking and security sector, counteracting gender-based violence, and overcoming gender stereotypes, as well as improving gender education and awareness.