First Lady Olena Zelenska opened the second day of the V Ukrainian Women's Congress. In her speech, the President's wife, in particular, spoke about the results of Ukraine's participation in the Biarritz Partnership, which were achieved in five areas: the development of a barrier-free public space friendly to families with children and people with limited mobility; teaching the principles of equality between women and men; prevention of violence; narrowing the wage gap between women and men and creating more opportunities for men to take care of children.
Ukraine has already developed a draft strategy to reduce the gender pay gap, adopted a law that makes all citizens equal in responsibility for committed domestic violence and expedites court proceedings in relevant cases. A law that simplifies the opportunity for men to take parental leave was also adopted. The Ministry of Education and Science has formed a working group on gender audit, the main task of which is to develop a methodology and criteria for gender audit of educational institutions. A subvention to create a network of specialized support services for people affected by domestic violence and/or gender-based violence has been provided. The barriers-free space campaign is being actively developed in Ukraine.
"Equality is not only about equal rights, it is also about equal opportunities and access for every member of society to any public space: an airport, train, restaurant, cafe, pharmacy or business center. All of this is part of our commitment to the Biarritz Partnership and one of my major areas of activity, which is called "barrier-free space." I would like to point out that we have taken confident steps to ensure that barrier-free environment becomes a new social norm," Zelenska said.
According to the First Lady, many obligations have already been met, but this is only the beginning: "The state and all of us must not forget the main thing – why Ukraine joined the Biarritz Partnership. [Ukraine joined it] for the sake of equal opportunities, rights and freedoms for all people."
The Ukrainian Women's Congress is a permanent public platform that shapes the gender policy agenda for the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, the government, local communities, the private and public sectors, and the media community. The main topic of this event is Women's Leadership as a Value.
At the initiative of First Lady Olena Zelenska, on September 11, 2020, Ukraine became a full member of the international Biarritz Partnership. It was initiated by the G7 leaders – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. The main goal is to strengthen the responsibility of the G7 and consolidate the efforts of other states to achieve equal rights and opportunities in society and the absence of restrictions on any grounds.