Iryna Herashchenko at Ukrainian Women’s Congress discussed women’s participation in security processes

Participation of women in security processes, achievements in the recognition of women in the army and overcoming gender stereotypes in various fields were in the center of the report of the co-chair of the European Solidarity faction, Commissioner for Peaceful Settlement of the Situation in Donetsk and Luhansk regions (2014-2019) Iryna Herashchenko during the 4th Ukrainian Women’s Congress. 

Herashchenko stressed that together with colleagues she has achieved a lot in terms of gender equality, quotas, combating sexism and stereotypes, increasing women in politics and government. “Women’s leadership is not an exception, but the norm. The times when there was only one woman in Ukrainian politics are history, but women’s influence in decision-making in power remains insignificant, especially under this ruling team. The participation of Ukrainian women in peacekeeping processes is also minimal,” Herashchenko said.

Herashchenko called on the authorities to more widely involve women, including those from the non-governmental sector and those who have personally survived captivity or have experience of fighting for their relatives, in the negotiation process.

“In fact, world experience shows that the presence of women at the peace negotiating table increases efficiency and strengthens the responsibility for the implementation of agreements. An analysis of 40 peace processes since 1991 shows that when women were able to influence the negotiation process, the chances of achieving peace were higher,” the lawmaker stated. 

“Ukraine became the first country to adopt a national action plan to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1325 during the armed conflict. Thanks to the efforts of me and my colleagues, the Rada has passed laws that equalized the passage of women in military service, including in officer positions.  The number of positions where female servicemen can be appointed has increased to about 300 military specialties, including ‘combat’); girls had the access to military education. During my tenure in the Minsk humanitarian group, we released dozens of women held hostage by pro-Russian groups. However, dozens of Ukrainian women are still being held hostage in the Russian Federation or in the occupied territories,” Herashchenko said.

The incumbent government walked out from the effective communication platform in the Verkhovna Rada – the Minsk Platform, where deputies could not only learn first-hand about the peace talks, but also about the experience of reintegration and inclusive dialogue, amnesty and responsibility in Croatia and Ireland, Colombia and other countries,” argued the lawmaker.