NATO Secretary General's Special Representative in Kyiv: Ukrainian women inspire the world

  • 04 May. 2023 -
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  • Last updated: 05 May. 2023 15:24

Irene Fellin, the NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security, visited Kyiv on Thursday (4 May 2023), delivering remarks at the Ukrainian Women’s Congress (UWC), and holding talks with Ukrainian officials. In her address to the UWC, Ms Fellin saluted the women of Ukraine, saying: “your determination to defend your country’s freedom and values is an inspiration to me and to the entire world”.

NATO Secretary General's Special Representative in Kyiv: Ukrainian women inspire the world

One of the key lessons learned from Russia’s war is that “women must participate in their societies at all times, be that in time of war or peace”. Ms Fellin added that the use of sexual violence in war underscores the importance of integrating a gender perspective into conflict management, resolution, peacebuilding, reconstruction and the development of defence capabilities. 

Ms Fellin added that new priorities – including counter-terrorism, climate change, cyber security and resilience – have significantly broadened the Women, Peace and Security agenda since the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1325 almost 23 years ago. Today, Special Representative Fellin emphasised, our main task is to “safeguard and leverage the achievements we worked so hard for”. She underlined the importance of “women’s equal participation in decision-making throughout the war and after Ukraine’s victory”, and affirmed that she is working towards ensuring that initiatives funded by NATO’s Comprehensive Assistance Package “will be gender responsive and that women’s needs are met”.

While in Ukraine, Ms Fellin met with First Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzhaparova; Deputy Minister of Defence Hanna Maliar; and Kateryna Levchenko, the Government Commissioner for Gender Equality Policy and Vice-Chair of the General Equality Commission of the Council of Europe, as well as women from civil society organisations.