Findings from Report on implementation of UHHRU’s Gender Equality and Non-Discrimination Policy in 2018

All links are in Ukrainian, unless other is specified

Starting from 2016, the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union (UHHRU) keeps on implementing the Gender Equality and Non-Discrimination Policy in order to apply the principle of gender mainstreaming[1] throughout its operating activities and at one’s workplace (e.g. hiring process, working relations, wages, composition of decision-making bodies, etc.), as well as in the course of implementing specific programs and projects. For this, UHHRU’s Gender Advisor prepares annual Action Plan on the Policy’s enforcement, monitors its implementation, which results in release of the annual subject-matter report.

The 2018 Action Plan was aimed at implementation of awareness-raising activities on gender and non-discrimination, promotion of gender-sensitive practices, prohibition of discrimination based on gender, age, etc. Throughout the year, UHHRU conducted a survey on gender and non-discrimination issues among employees, produced recommendations on integration of the gender component into the UHHRU’s analytical materials, and held a subject-matter awareness raising campaigns.

UHHRU continues supporting a specialized project “Women human rights defenders who change Ukraine”, being a series of interviews with female human rights activists from all over Ukraine working in different spheres of human rights protection and representing various organisations (including UHHRU). By the end of 2018, 49 interviews with female human rights activists had been published. In 2018, a number of interviews were arranged to coincide with the international human rights days (such as the International Women’s Day, International Romani Day, International Day against Homophobia and Transfobia).

Also, in support of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (which marks the beginning of the annual campaign “16 Days Against Violence“), an interview with a well-known human rights defender and Government Commissioner for Gender Policy Kateryna Levchenko was prepared within a said specialized project.

Four interviews touching upon gender and non-discrimination topic (in particular, on domestic violence, sexual harassment, hate speech, and sex work) were made within a “Legal ABC” audio-podcasts series.

11 580 consultations were provided during the year by UHHRU’s legal aid centers located in different regions of Ukraine. Out of those, who mentioned their gender, there were 45% of male clients and 52% of female clients. In particular, there were 81 appeals related to domestic violence. All the victims received high-quality legal advice and assistance. Also, legal aid centers (independently, as well as in cooperation with other partners) were regularly organizing and holding awareness raising events on gender-related issues, e.g. “How to resist domestic violence” (in Sumy), discussion on counteracting domestic violence and bullying (in Zaporizhzhya), discussion on importance of women’s protection during armed conflict (in Sumy), seminar on job placement of women, discrimination at work, and other gender inequality evidences (in Pokrovsk of Donetsk oblast), etc.

In general, in 2018 UHHRU produced much more analytical materials on gender and non-discrimination than for the previous years. In particular, in addition to the above examples, the measures include analysis of the Council of Europe Gender Equality Strategy for 2018-2023, UHHRU’s victory in the European Court of Human Rights in “Vyshniakov vs. Ukraine“ case, which deals with the issue of gender discrimination, etc.

At the same time, similarly to the last year, at the end of 2018, the issue of ratification of the Istanbul Convention[2] and increasing the visibility of anti-gender initiatives remains topical in Ukraine. Therefore, it would be appropriate for UHHRU to establish cooperation with the relevant human rights organizations dealing with gender issues.

It would be appropriate to more fully integrate the gender component in UHHRU’s activities at the level of large-scale projects. As well as when developing analytical products (for example, UHHRU’s analytical report “Peculiarities of legal regulation of the provision of the right to medical care for people living with HIV/AIDS and patients with tuberculosis who are kept in the detention facilities”, analytical paper ”Rehabilitation of victims of the conflict. Does the state suggest something apart from disability status and crutches?”) it is necessary to take into account the Recommendations on the Integration of Gender Component into the UHHRU’s analytical materials.

That is, UHHRU needs to more actively incorporate the principles of gender mainstreaming into its own activities – both internally, at the level of its staff, as well as at the level of external cooperation. It is in 2018 that the situation with gender parity in the UHHRU’s governing bodies is the worst compared to previous years as none of the gender policy approved quotas were met. Therefore, UHHRU’s leadership should pay more attention to this policy and consider its provisions when appropriate.


Full report in Ukrainian is available here.

[1] Gender mainstreaming means integrating a gender equality perspective at all stages and levels of policies, programs and projects.

[2] The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (2011),

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