Regional policies and decentralization: what are the gender perspectives?

How did the pandemic affect the implementation of the local policies and programs for ensuring equal rights and opportunities of women and men? What are the perspectives of the local gender policies following the elections and is there gender policy in the agenda? What are that tools and measures local authorities implement to ensure the needs of different groups of women and men?


“Gender sensitive budgeting brough new opportunities for building regulations. New state building norms include new standards for building nurseries and schools. This will help to engage more women in the economy. We can see the challenges of the pandemic, when many women had to stay at home with kids. The immense number of women stay at home because they have no access to nurseries or schools where they can leave their kids and go to work. I would like to highlight that we have conducted gender review of all the legislative acts, bills and other documents. It was an important step. We can see that medicine, education, security, self-governance, human resources development are the directions where we have to take into account the equal opportunities for women and men,” Hennadiy Zubko, former Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine in 2014-2019, said.

“It was a natural and logical step for me. I worked in civil society sector dealing with urban development. I am well acquainted with urban topic. I was going to join local authorities about a year ago. I have an experience of developing public spaces for the communities. We were the first to evaluate the spaces from the gender perspective. The development strategy of Kyiv has to be revised, it is not gender sensitive at the moment,” Yevheniya Kuleba, a member of Kyiv city council from Sluha Narodu party, said.

I was the first on the list and it was a well-thought step for me. My task is to defend the reforms, which cannot be handled by the central authorities, in particular the decentralization reform. Gender quotas helped 39 women to become city council members. This number is bigger than last year. I think that women will face the ongoing challenges efficiently. We will gather as female members and think how to promote the gender equality principles in Kyiv,” Maryna Poroshenko, a member of Kyiv city council from Yevropeyska Solidarnist, said.


“Ukraine made a step forward to gender equality. Women make up 37% of members of different councils in the Lviv region. The first session of the regional council is upcoming and there is hope that a  woman will be elected the head of the council for the first time in its history,” Mykhailo Tsymablyuk, MP from Batkivshchyna, said.

“28 agricultural companies from the Lviv region have created a joint cooperation. Twelve of them are managed by women. Women make up 55% of those employed in the rural agricultural sector. Their burden is quite heavy. I would like central authorities to pay attention to that and take into account the needs and problems of this group,” Natalia Tabinska, cofounder and head of Fermerska Rodyna agricultural cooperation.

“I am grateful for such a space that gives voice to women and leads us to great changes. I am happy we can hear the voice of women from small communities, including Prykarpattia region, where I have been elected. As a politician I communicate with female journalists, members of parliament, human rights defenders who are visible in the Ukrainian women’s movement. This communication inspires me. Mentorship and supervision in women’s leadership is an essential component. I am going to suggest my colleagues in the regional council to establish an Equal Opportunities group following the example of the caucus created in the Parliament,” Yevheniya Bardyak, a member of Ivano-Frankivsk regional council, said.


“Mariupol was exemplary in working with gender quotas. Five parties that entered the city council followed the 40% quota. As a result, there are 30% of women among the members of Mariupol city council. Kseniya Sukhova, who earlier worked with urban issues as a deputy mayor, became the Secretary of Council. She is the first woman holding this position. We can see these successful examples. Women’s leadership is becoming a basis for the new economy of our country,” Vadym Boychenko, the mayor of Mariupol, said.

“I would like to stress that we understand in Mariupol very well how important equal opportunities for women and men are for attracting investments. In the last five years, we progressed a lot. Five years ago, we were seen as a depressive city between the two plants. Now, we are mentioned in Forbes along with Lviv.

Five years ago, 70% of graduates left the city. Now, 70% of them stay. I want to mention grassroot initiatives and development of creative, strong and proactive civil society,” Olha Pikula, director of Mariupol center for SMEs, said.


“I know there are more than 11 thousand municipalities in Ukraine. It is indeed quite a transformation. Another transformation is happening: for the first time in the history of Ukraine, about 30% of members of the local councils will be women. Canada is a great supporter of Ukraine in this regard,” Joanne Vanderheyden, mayor of Strathroy-Caradoc, said