Pictured above, left to right: Anna Derevyanko, Executive Director, European Business Association; CEO and Co-Founder GB4U / Nataliia Shapoval, Chairman of KSE Institute, Vice President for Policy Research / Nataliya Mykolska, Strategic growth consultant; Member of the Supervisory Board, Ukrhydroenergo; CEO, Dattalion / Martin Harris, British Ambassador to Ukraine / Oleksandra Azarkhina, Deputy Minister for Communities, Territories and Infrastructure Development of Ukraine / Tetyana Berezhna, Deputy Minister of Economy of Ukraine
Fifty per cent of newly registered private entrepreneurs in 2023 in Ukraine were women, many drawing on personal savings to launch their ventures while facing challenges caused by Russia’s full-scale invasion.
The crucial role of women in rebuilding Ukraine’s communities and economies was the focus of the “Women. Business. Recovery.” event in November, organised by the British Embassy in Kyiv and supported by the Good Governance Fund – Managed Fund.
Government of Ukraine representatives, the British Ambassador, and women entrepreneurs came together to discuss the role of women in Ukraine’s economy and recovery.
“Women being involved in the design and implementation of recovery is critical to maximize its effectiveness, and to take into account different perspectives,” said Martin Harris, British Ambassador to Ukraine. Equal representation of women in both planning and implementation of reconstruction will speed up this process, and make it more inclusive and thoughtful.
In 2021, the gender pay gap was 18.6 per cent in Ukraine. On average, women work without pay for 6.5 years over their lifetimes. According to Yulia Svyrydenko, Ukraine’s First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy, the Government aims to reduce the gap to 13.6 per cent by 2030. She presented the Ministry’s strategy to bridge the gender pay gap, which includes legislation for equal pay to create favourable conditions for combining family and work, as well as overcoming stereotypes and discrimination.
Participants also discussed obstacles in access to working capital, professional networks, childcare, and training. In response, the Government launched the “Own Business” program, which will provide women entrepreneurs with opportunities to win grants and vouchers.
Mobilisation is another key barrier as more men are fighting for Ukraine, leaving their workplaces. For women to enter sectors historically dominated by men, they need to develop new skills.
A new voucher program for education will help women expand their skill sets, provided through the State Employment Service for veterans, persons with disabilities, internally displaced persons, and people 45 years and older. There will also be new training opportunities through the Projector Foundation for internally displaced women 18 years and older, and women who obtained temporary protection status abroad.
Deputy Minister of Communities, Territories and Infrastructure Development of Ukraine Oleksandra Azarkhina and Dattalion CEO Nataliya Mykolska highlighted the importance of supporting women in business. They emphasized that ensuring women have equal seats at the table is not only right, but smart. Recovery policies and programs designed with input from female entrepreneurs are more empathetic to communities’ needs.
This kind of support from international partners and domestic initiatives promoting workforce development will ensure female business leaders play an integral role in leading Ukraine’s recovery.
Funded by UK International Development from the UK government and implemented by Alinea, the Good Governance Fund Programme Management Unit designs, procures, and supervises rapid, responsive technical assistance to mobilise reforms in Ukraine.