President Petro Poroshenko stresses that in today's Ukraine, the territorial integrity and independence of the state is defended not only by men, but also by women.
During the speech at the 2nd Ukrainian Women's Congress, in which the Head of State took part with the President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė, Petro Poroshenko mentioned one of the outstanding, but little-known Ukrainian women, Olena Stepaniv, who was born on December 7, 1897. "She became one of the first women to be enlisted in military service in the rank of officer. First in the world. Ukrainian," the President stressed.
Getting to the frontline was not easy for her - she was rejected, because it was believed that there is no place for women on the frontline. Later, however, she got into the army, and later into Russian captivity, in which she was recognized as an officer with appropriate conditions of detention.
"And the life story of Olena Stepaniv is similar to the modern period of Ukraine. Today, we defend the Ukrainian state and our Ukrainian prominent women and men struggle for the independence of our state," the Head of State noted.
Petro Poroshenko noted that another significant event took place this year - the title of general was given to a woman for the first time in Ukraine.
About 70 women in the Ukrainian Armed Forces have the rank of colonel, he also remarked. “Taking this opportunity, I would like to thank all the women soldiers who, in such an uneasy time for Ukraine, defend our Ukrainian land and defend our state. They prove by their example that in the defense of the state the contribution of both women and men is absolutely equivalent," the President stressed.
The Head of State reminded that in October this year he signed the Law on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, according to which women undergo military service on an equal basis with men. "From now on, nobody can restrict the women's right to defend Ukraine and serve the Homeland," Petro Poroshenko said, noting that today more than 30 thousand women serve in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, of which more than three thousand are officers.