Gender equality is at the very heart of human rights and United Nations (UN) values. A fundamental principle of the United Nations Charter adopted by world leaders in 1945 is "equal rights of men and women", and protecting and promoting women's human rights is the responsibility of all States.
Ukraine has taken the key international commitments on gender equality including Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW, 1980) and its Optional Protocol, Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995), and adopted national legislative and policy framework on gender equality, including the State Programme on ensuring Equal Rights and Opportunities for Women and Men (till 2016) and the National Action Plan “Women, Peace and Security” (2016) to implement UN Security Resolution 1325.
However, women still face constraints in practicing their political, economic and social rights. Violence against women and girls, including domestic and sexual violence, are pressing issue and impeding realization of their full potential. Women's participation in decision-making remains extremely low. They are concentrated in low-paid economic sectors and with limited access to top management positions in all sectors of economy. Women make a majority in care and unpaid domestic work, with limited control over assets and productive resources.
Today gender-based discrimination is enhanced due to annexation of Crimea, military conflict in the Eastern Ukraine, economic and social crisis and the austerity policy adopted by government to cope with it. . Women and children constitute two-third of 1,6 mln. of officially registered internally displaced people. They face difficulties in exercising their economic and social rights: access to jobs, medical care, accommodation, social services and benefits. Women shoulder a responsibility of the families’ social well-being and care work. The breakdown of the rule of law and the economic hardships increased vulnerability to sexual violence and trafficking.
Promoting gender equality as a driver of sustainable country development, the UN System in Ukraine supports government, parliament and civil society to ensure the political, social and economic participation of women, to accelerate empowerment of women and strengthen their role in national reforms processes, to facilitate Ukraine’s adherence to international treaty obligations and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
The UN Gender Theme Group (UN GTG) – a key UN interagency mechanisms - includes gender focal points of the UN Agencies and the Resident Coordinator’s Office and works to promote, facilitate and support the implementation of gender mainstreaming throughout the UN system in Ukraine.
It is a common forum for all UN agencies, funds and programmes for sharing of gender-specific information and experiences. The group strives for establishment of a effective partnership and dialogue between UN, Government, Parliament and the civil society in the area of gender equality and women’s rights in Ukraine.
In 2016 the Group plans to focus on:
- Supporting the implementation and monitoring of the national and international gender equality commitments, including Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination (CEDAW), Beijing Platform for Action, UN Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security;
- Gender mainstreaming in evaluation of UN Partnership Framework (2012-2016) and in the process of drafting the next one (2017- 2020) with a full engagement of the gender advocates and women’s groups;
- Joining efforts with partners in awareness raising and advocacy for gender equality and women and girls’ rights.
Women’s average wage was 76.3% of men’s average wage in 2014.
Women’s pension constitutes 67% from men’s one.
Women owned 20-22% of small and medium enterprises and only 2% of big ones in 2013.
Women and children constitute two-third of 1,6 mln. of officially registered internally displaced people.
Near 90,000 cases of violence against women are registered annually.