Women in Ukraine: "We will be heard."

April 5, 2016


Waterloo, ON - Promoting gender equality in development projects isn’t new to MEDA. We managed our first project focused specifically on women’s economic empowerment in the early 2000s. Today, MEDA employs several gender specialists and includes a component promoting gender equality in all of our projects.

Members of MEDA’s Ukraine Horticulture Business Development Project (UHBDP) recently participated in a conference focused on the empowerment of women farmers. The “Prospects and Opportunities of Women Famers Movement in Ukraine Conference” was hosted by three Ukraine-based development projects funded by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada.

“Strong male and female leaders build strong communities,” says Alexandra Garmash, gender specialist for UHBDP. “Together, they create positive changes in our society. Stable democratic and economic development is possible only if there is equality between men and women.”
Ukr womenWomen at the conference had the opportunity to share their knowledge and define common obstacles to business development. Their discussions also enabled attendees to see how the Ukrainian government is increasingly understanding the importance of gender equality.

Several women spoke about their success in business. Olga Mizina, a UHBDP participant, noted that gender-focused strategies empowered her to start growing a new crop, significantly increase her area of production, and gain access to up-to-date facilities to manage her agribusiness.

To cap off the conference, attendees visited the Verkhovna Rada, the Ukrainian Parliament. One of the participants noted, “[As a woman], I was skeptical of the visit to the Verkhovna Rada. But now, I understand that it is simply a building. And this building is not somewhere out of reach, but it is here. I can walk freely there. I realized that I can and I have to influence the course of the events in my community as well as in the whole society.”

Garmash is confident about the progress made. “We expect that the women’s movement in Ukraine will be stronger and more evident. We will be heard. At the same time, UHBDP will continue to promote gender equality in all spheres of the project.”

Find more about UHBDP here, and click here to learn more about how we empower women through economic development.