How well is Ukraine doing in combating discrimination against women?

Jul 21, 2016

Ukrainian civil society assesses Ukraine’s compliance with the UN Convention against women discrimination (CEDAW) as alternative observers of progress made and challenges to overcome, especially in conflict-affected regions, to achieve gender equality in Ukraine.  

Kyiv, 21 July 2016 – Leading women’s civil society organizations today convened a coordination meeting to prepare alternative reports on Ukraine’s implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), adopted in 1979 and ratified by 189 states, including Ukraine, which is now legally bound to put its provisions into practice and to submit national reports every four years on measures taken to comply with the convention obligations.

Often described as an international bill of rights for women, the Convention defines what constitutes discrimination against women and sets up an agenda for national action to end such discrimination. So far, Ukraine submitted its 8th periodic report in 2014.

As Ukraine comes under CEDAW review again early next year, civil society groups plan to submit to the CEDAW Committee in January 2017 their own reports on the prevalence of various forms of discrimination and violence against women in Ukraine, as grassroots alternative testimonies of the substantial and entrenched barriers Ukrainian women still grapple with in different areas of their lives.

Key issues of concerns included the situation of Roma women, gender-based violence in the zone of armed conflict in Donetsk and Luhansk and the consequences of armed conflict on women, the participation of women in efforts to create and maintain peace and security, as well as the situation of women on the labor market. Topical issues to be addressed to Ukraine’s delegation at the meeting of CEDAW Pre-Sessional Working Group for the 66th session in Geneva, which will be held on 25-29 July 2016 were also discussed.

“We are happy that 5 CSO coalitions working on alternative reports to CEDAW gathered today to consolidate their position and come to the Committee with a unified list of issues to be addressed to the Ukrainian Government. This year, the CEDAW process is of particular importance as it covers both the common aspects of women discrimination and new challenges caused by the armed conflict and internal displacement. UNDP and UN Women will make every effort to support both government and civil society,” said Yuliya Shcherbinina,


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