UN Resident Coordinator Speaks at the Parliamentary Hearings “Equal Rights between Men and Women"

Oct 16, 2013

Dear Chairperson, Madame Minister, Members of the Parliament, distinguished panelists, ladies and gentlemen.

I am honoured to be here today and grateful for the opportunity to convey the  joint statement of the UN system in Ukraine on the topic of equal rights between women and men.

Let me reiterate that the United Nations system in Ukraine remains at the disposal of the Government and stands ready to join efforts of the Parliament of Ukraine, ministries and governmental bodies, civil society and all engaged stakeholders and actors to multiply measures and activities towards gender mainstreaming, promoting of gender equality and women’s empowerment, and ensuring full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all citizens of Ukraine

In 2014 Ukraine will submit its report on the progress in implementation of the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women to the CEDAW Committee. There are a lot of positive developments and achievements to report on .

The statements I am going to deliver today are indeed shaped to address what could be accelerators’ factors for further advancement of the gender equality agenda in Ukraine. To these effect, I would like to put the accent on 5 key messages:

1. Our first point is a reiteration of the basic principle that  Ensuring gender equality is a human rights issue that concerns every member of the society.

Women’s empowerment, their equal access to financial services, infrastructure, full range of health services, including sexual and reproductive health and rights; the right to own land and assets; elimination of  discrimination and equal pay for equal work; equal voice in decision-making – these all are crucial factors and prerequisites for country’s development, its progress and achievement of sustainable growth.

Gender equality drives development. It resounds worldwide. And it is applicable to Ukraine. As the quote goes : “Women hold half of the sky” and we should empower them to do so

 2. Our second point is of appreciation

for the recent adoption of the State Programme on Ensuring Equal Rights and Opportunities for Women and Men, 2013- 2016.

We hope that this important policy document developed through an inclusive consultative process, which the UN was privileged to be a part of, will facilitate mainstreaming of gender equality into all areas of life in Ukraine.

The task at hand now is to operationalize this policy. To ensure that there are annual targets and indicators with which to measure progress, as well as sufficient allocation of financial resources for meaningful implementation.

As per the Outcome Document of the fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness held in Busan, Republic of Korea, in 2011, Ukraine is responsible for establishing a system of adequate financial allocations for gender equality that target and benefit both women and men.

The UN system stands ready to assist the Government in operationalizing the State Programme, as well as to ensure a mechanism for sustainable financing of gender equality, including through introduction of a gender-responsive budgeting at the national and regional levels

3. Let me now move to Point Number 3:

Researches and surveys indicate that gender based occupational segregation and pay gap continues to persist in the country. We are therefore encouraged by the fact that a major thrust of the State Programme is equal participation of women in the labour market.

The UN also commends recent initiatives launched by the Ministry of Social Policy to overcome gender stereotypes and boost women’s labour force participation through flexible work arrangements and amendment of laws to introduce temporary special measures such as the quota system.

4.   On women’s participation in decision making which is the 4th message we would like to convey,

Let me on behalf of the UN, welcome the modest increase in women participation in the Parliament (from 9% to 11% ) but also note that a great deal more needs to be done to reach women’s representation at the level of 30% among the elective bodies (including the Parliament) and high-level executives.

Affirmative action on the part of the Government and all engaged are strongly supported by the UN and here too the UN can provide necessary technical support to make these initiatives a reality. We hope these efforts will go a long way not only in addressing some of the structural inequalities that exist but also further bolster the country’s international obligations towards fulfilling requirements and recommendation of internationals conventions, treaties and frameworks, including Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, ILO and other conventions, Beijing Platform for Action, MDGs, and will pave the way towards greater democratization and European Integration

5.   With reference to the gender based violence, our 5th  message :The prevalence of gender-based violence and human trafficking continues to be a concern to the UN.

90 % of violence cases in Ukraine are cases of violence against women. Research indicates that only 1 of 4 women, who survived domestic violence in Ukraine, seek support from law enforcement and the legislative system.

In this regard the UN looks forward to the expeditious approval of the new version of the Law on Preventing and Combating Domestic Violence, compliant with international standards. We also look forward to the ratification of the Istanbul Convention, which would also be in line with the Recommendation of the Universal Period Review. We are of the opinion that these actions  will give Ukraine the opportunity to improve legislation and to build a comprehensive system to help such women and their families, as well as to protect women from all forms of violence.

We thank you for your attention and look forward to continuous advancement of the agenda of women equality and working with all partners for the cause at stake.