Stable work, safe home

The world has changed in the past few months. The COVID-19 pandemic created a new reality with new models of people’s behavior, a new system of social communications, a new consumer habits and new attitude to the role of the state.

These caused both new challenges and aggravation of the unsolved old ones.

One of the issues provoked by the pandemic is the protection of human rights in general and overcoming gender discrimination and violence against women and girls in particular. It was not accidental that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres admitted: “gender equality and women’s rights are key to overcoming the pandemic, quick recovering and building a prosperous future” and called for the protection of women isolated during the quarantine with aggressors.

And it is not accidental that the issues of fighting violence and creating a safe environment during the quarantine were the main topic for active discussion during the Ukrainian Women’s Congress and its platform «Women and men in the pandemic context: how to meet the needs and create the safe living environment?”.

Dafina Gercheva, the UNDP Resident Representative to Ukraine and the online Congress participant stressed that “the pandemic led us to the multi-vector crisis which emphasizes economic inequality and people’s vulnerability, destroying many success stories reached in the context of sustainable development”. So, the participants considered a wider range of issues, talking not only about domestic violence during the pandemic but also about support to small business and women entrepreneurship during the quarantine limitations.

Yulia Klymenko, the people’s deputy of Ukraine, mentioned that Parliament and Government should have concentrated their efforts on supporting small and medium business as it provides 20% jobs, but has no possibility to get proper state support. That led to the situation when many enterprises, especially launched and run by women were forced to spot their activities at all. One of the reasons was that women-entrepreneurs had to choose their priorities between work and family.

Olha Rudnieva, the Head of Olena Pinchuk Foundation, mentioned that measures of supporting women entrepreneurs from both government and NGOs were often overdue. According to Nataliia Yemchenko, the public relations director of SCM, Ukraine has passed the first stage of the crisis overcoming well. That was possible due to the union of the state’s and responsible business’s efforts.

As a conclusion of the discussion panel its moderator Olesia Zhulynska, public relations director in Coca-Cola Ukraine, expressed hope that the issues raised by the discussion will be actively supported on different platforms in the nearest future.