Removing barriers to women in the Ukrainian armed forces

  • 18 May. 2016 -
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  • Last updated: 26 May. 2016 15:05

The NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security, Marriëtt Schuurman, met the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Lt Gen Viktor Muzhenko, on 18 May 2016. They discussed Ukraine’s recently adopted National Action Plan on implementing United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, and how NATO could support this.

Ambassador Schuurman welcomed the recent nomination of Capt Daria Malakhova as a Gender Advisor to the Minister of Defence to oversee the implementation of the National Action Plan.  She will receive special training for gender advisors at the Nordic Centre for Gender in Military Operations in Sweden, as part of the Professional Training Package to Ukraine.

NATO and the Ministry of Defence will co-host an event in Kyiv on 23 June to mark the adoption of the Action Plan and to discuss various roles of government and oversight, involving both parliament and civil society, in its implementation.

Ukrainian military already has 8.2 % women in their ranks, not far from the NATO average of 10.3%. Lt Gen Muzhenko emphasised the government’s commitment to removing barriers to women in the armed forces, including combat positions, and recounted a recent meeting with women parliamentarians and women in the armed forces to discuss progress.

Ambassador Schuurman stressed the importance of participation of women in the modernisation and reform of the armed forces and as means to increase effectiveness. The equal participation of men and women will be a core part of a comprehensive assistance package to Ukraine that is expected to be endorsed at NATO’s upcoming Summit in July.

The Special Representative and the Chief of the General Staff also discussed the importance of leadership in promoting reforms and gender equality. As a demonstration of leadership’s commitment, Lt Gen Muzhenko will be sending two of his senior staff to the Key Leader Seminar at the Nordic Centre for Gender in June. He also invited Ambassador Schuurman to bilateral meetings with the Ukrainian government in June.