Coverage: UN Women Executive Director visits Ukraine and Moldova
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka travelled to Ukraine and Moldova from 8-11 June to reaffirm UN Women’s commitment to support both countries in their efforts to advance gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. During the visit, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka met with officials, parliamentarians, donors, women's groups, internally displaced women, survivors of domestic violence and other women facing multiple forms of discrimination.
On her final day in Moldova, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka participated in a high-level event, “Women-led solutions to ending violence against women – The journey of survivors of violence,” where women survivors of violence, also known as “Positive Champions” for their advocacy across Moldova, shared their experience of overcoming violence and empowering hundreds of other Moldovan women to take the first steps towards a life free of violence.
Later that day, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka held a high-level meeting with Prime Minister of Moldova Pavel Filip to discuss the important achievements in advancing gender equality in the country and the criticality of sustaining them. “The Government has a broader goal in mind than only drafting and implementing policies. We aim to deal with the deeply rooted problems, such as gender prejudices and stereotypes,” declared the Prime Minister.
Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka also met the Speaker of the Moldovan Parliament to discuss the adoption of recent legislation to strengthen the advancement of gender equality in the country. They especially focused on the adoption of a series of legislative acts in 2016 that introduced gender quotas in party lists and cabinet nominees and targeted elimination of violence against women.
Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka concluded her visit with a meeting with President Igor Dodon, where she underlined the importance of commitments made by the President ensuring that reforms will not undermine gains made on gender equality and women’s empowerment.
On her first day in Moldova, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka met with women Members of Parliament (MPs) to discuss their work on promoting women’s rights and gender balance in leadership, political participation and decision-making. Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka congratulated women MPs on passing a new law in 2016, which, for the first time, introduced gender quotas in party lists and cabinet nominees. UN Women has been a steadfast advocate for women’s leadership and political participation in Moldova, and contributed to the adoption the new law. A joint UNDP and UN Women programme, “Women in Politics” had also led to two Roma women winning seats in local elections for the first time in 2015.
On her way to Căușeni, a town in the south of Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka held discussions “on the wheels” with the representatives of women’s groups in Moldova. She stressed the important partnership between the civil society and UN Women in challenging existing social norms and improving legal frameworks.
Upon arrival in Căușeni, Ms. Mlambo Ngcuka launched a public art installation, “Bright Future,” that symbolizes equality and a life free of violence for women and girls. During the event, she met with local authorities and women survivors of violence, also known as Positive Champions. Ms. Mlambo Ngcuka praised the significant efforts of Positive Champions in helping and inspiring other women survivors of domestic violence: “I commend all the Positive Champions for their courage to break the silence around violence against women and girls and to drive action toward a world free of violence. You act as critical positive examples of how women can challenge stereotypes and combat harmful practices,” said Ms. Mlambo-Ncguka.
Following the opening, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka had a lively discussion with young girls and boys who advocated for ending violence against women during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign in 2016. The youth shared with Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka their experience in advocating for women’s and girls’ rights and the impact they have observed.
Read more about the Executive Director's trip to Moldova on UN Women's regional website for Europe and Central Asia.
On her final day in Ukraine, the Executive Director addressed Ukrainian media together with Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, Ambassador of Sweden Martin Hagström and Ambassador of Canada Roman Waschuk. Ms Mlambo-Ngcuka launched our new initiative to end discrimination against women in Ukraine, "CEDAW in Action!," funded by the Government of Canada, and "Gender equality at the center of reforms in Ukraine," funded by the Government of Sweden, which aims to integrate gender equality into the reform process. "Reforms are the silver lining in the cloud. Now is a strategic moment for Ukraine to push the frontier for gender equality," said Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka.
On day two, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka met with civil society organizations and women’s rights activists to discuss the state of gender equality in the country. Civil society representatives that advocate for the rights of a wide variety of groups, including those that face multiple forms of dicrimination; such as women with HIV, Roma women, women with disabilities and LGBTI; stressed the need to address the rights of these groups, their access to social services and their representation in leadership and decision making positions.
Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka held a high-level meeting with the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergiy Kyslytsya, about how to effectively advance gender equality and women’s rights in Ukraine. Mr. Kyslytsya stressed the importance of educating people about the meaning of gender equality and providing information to women about their rights. After the meeting, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka announced Deputy Minister Kyslytsya as the first HeForShe champion in Ukraine for his sincere commitment to promoting gender equality.
Later that day, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka met Ukrainian Members of Parliament (MPs) to once again highlight the criticality of ratifying the Istanbul Convention and to discuss achievements and challenges in passing legislation that protects and advances women’s rights in Ukraine. “Ukraine achieved a lot in ensuring gender equality. I hope for further steps in this direction. Putting gender equality above politics is crucially important. Let us aim that by 2030 gender equality is a rule rather than an exception.” said Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka, ensuring MPs that UN Women will provide support along this path.
On the first day of her visit, the Executive Director held a high-level meeting with Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, Vice Prime Minister on EU and Euro-Atlantic Integration, to reiterate UN Women’s commitment to support Ukraine in advancing gender equality and women’s rights through institutional strengthening and reforms. Ms Mlambo-Ngcuka congratulated Ms. Klympush-Tsintsadze on recent achievements to promote gender equality in government policies. “Gender equality is our first priority for the coming years in Ukraine and in this context our partnership with UN Women is crucial,” said Ms. Klympush-Tsintsadze. In Ukraine, the Cabinet of Ministers endorsed a historic initiative this year placing gender equality as top priority.
Later that day, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka spoke at the opening of a workshop on women’s human rights in recovery and peacebuilding together with Vice Prime Minister Ms. Klympush-Tsintsadze, Vadym Chernysh, Minister of Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons, and Serhiy Kyslytsya, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. “Women are custodians of peace. Peace is more sustainable if more women are involved as decision-makers and leaders,” underlined Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka.
The opening ceremony included a captivating theater performance by internally displaced women about the challenges they faced during displacement and integration in new communities.
Following the workshop, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka held a lively discussion with internally displaced women from the conflict-affected territories in the east of Ukraine and Crimea. Women IDPs shared their strories of overcoming stigma and discrimination in host communities and challenges for social integration. “Internally displaced women have a huge potential for developing communities. We are eager to learn, work and contribute to the well-being of our country,” said Maryna Daniluyk, a displaced woman from Shastie community in the Lugansk region, in eastern Ukraine.
Read more about the Executive Director's trip to Ukraine on UN Women's regional website for Europe and Central Asia.