The Deputy Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Olena Kondratiuk took part in a special session of the Committee on Ukraine's Integration into the EU dedicated to gender equality in the process of EU accession.

She began her video address to the participants of the event by noting that at the last major Ukrainian Women’s Congress held last week in Poltava, participants stressed that the gender issue is perhaps the only issue on which our partners, the European Union, have no comments to make to Ukraine.

“I see this assessment as a reward for 13 years of work on gender equality. But at the same time, I understand that it is good to reach a certain level, but we still need to keep it,” the Vice Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament emphasised.

She also added that in the context of women's access to decision-making, Ukraine still has a way to go. As an example, Olena Kondratiuk advised looking at photos from any important negotiations where the Ukrainian side is mostly represented by men. At the same time, there are three female vice prime ministers in the Ukrainian government, one woman in the leadership of regional military administrations, and none in the General Staff.

Olena Kondratiuk also touched upon the issue of women’s presence in politics, which is still low compared to Europe (21% in Ukraine versus 31% in the EU). 

“We need to think about how to legislate to ensure that those women who found temporary refuge in EU countries during the war have the opportunity not only to vote but also to run for office. How to ensure a quota for women in the supervisory boards of enterprises or in the leadership of parliamentary committees. How to launch a gender expertise of draft laws so that they all take into account the needs of women and girls, etc.”, the Vice Speaker outlined the range of gender balance issues.

In conclusion, Olena Kondratiuk summed up that we have a lot to talk about and a lot to strive for in terms of gender equality in the EU accession process. She also expressed her gratitude to the event organisers for raising such an important topic at special events.

 

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