The Deputy Head of the President’s Office Yulia Kovaliv: “The state becomes the trendsetter when it comes to representation of women in the management of top companies”

When it comes to numbers, the general situation with gender equality in business is not that bright, according to Yulia Kovaliv, the Deputy Head of the President’s Office, who analyzed the statistics on management of state companies during the panel discussion on women’s engagement at the Fourth Ukrainian Women’s Congress.
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“Less than 20% of companies from the top 100 ranking in Ukraine are led by women. There are more women in board teams of the state companies with correct management models than in the private ones. This is the case when the state becomes the trendsetter. The supervisory boards of the three biggest state banks in Ukraine are headed by women. We are gradually changing the trend. This process is slow, there are few such companies in Ukraine,” Yulia Kovaliv said.

Equal work conditions, equal career and education opportunities are the preconditions of the gender-balanced economy, according to Dmytro Shymkiv, the head of Darnitsa Group supervisory board.

“The attitude towards women in Ukrainian IT is quite conservative: there are jokes about women in IT and doubts regarding the opportunities the women can provide to the team. In my IT-startups, I noticed that the best test engineers are women. Quality, attention to detail, speed – the women in this sphere are hundred times better,” Dmytro Shymkiv said.

Mr Shymkiv told a story of how women’s engagement in the work of Ukrainian office of Microsoft increased. “When I was the CEO at Microsoft in Ukraine, I was once asked, why gender diversity at Microsoft Ukraine is only 12%. We were given a year to improve the situation. We started analyzing, why in so many cases a man received a position, but not a woman. Then we noticed how we worded the tasks for recruiters. We did not mention female candidates at all. We described the position from the point of view of a man, not a woman and shaped the recruiter’s vision that the candidates should be men. The decision was easy: we told the recruiters that we need 50% of male candidates and 50% of female candidates. And then it suddenly appeared that there are a lot of gifted women in the Ukrainian IT sector. Next year, the share of women in the company increased from 12% to 36%. So if you want to change something, start with changes that will make the business strive for diversity,” Dmytro Shymkiv said.

“The added value in business is created by people, not by the machines. Corporate culture is a very tender, invisible, but extremely important component, like the fifth element. The role of women in shaping the corporate culture is amazingly big. Especially when it comes to stress, uncertainty and unprecedented change of content and context. We live in the revolutionary times. It is about finding a new way of existence,” Natalya Yemchenko, PR manager of SCM, said.

“In business, we have to talk about inclusion, not segregation,” Andriy Stetsevych, the deputy head of Oshchadbank said. He added that Oshchadbank often gives loans to businesswomen, because they have better credit history and financial discipline. “The face of our bank is gradually changing. I think you see this. We are transforming into a modern bank,” Andriy Stetsevych said.

“We don’t question the efficiency of women in business,” Kostyantyn Yevtushenko, the managing partner of the UNIT.City innovation park said. “At UNIT.City we implement the best practices of the Silicon Valley in the US, of China, Israel, South Korea and the EU. We chose the most important practices that work there and have to work in Ukraine. I have to admit that one of such practices is the diversity of ideas. Doing business, it’s impossible when one dictates the rules and there are no other options. A live discussion is necessary. I cannot imagine any successful business without women”.