Greater female representation in the political, business and cultural life of today’s Ukraine was on the agenda in Kharkiv on 7 July as the city played host to a welcome new initiative - the Global Gender Forum. The event, hosted at Oleksandr Yaroslavsky’s prestigious Premier Palace Hotel in the center of the city, was being staged for the first time and reflects growing awareness of the need for greater gender equality in contemporary Ukraine.
Forum organizers stated that the objective was to create an ongoing platform for communication on gender issues and to help foster the development of leadership skills among Ukrainian women as well as supporting their ongoing business and social initiatives. This inaugural event was attended by more than 300 representatives of the Kharkiv region as well as a number of national and international officials.
The Global Gender Forum featured the slogan “Women as Leaders – the Majority Defending Minority Rights.” Attendees included Ukraine’s First Lady Maryna Poroshenko, the President’s Parliamentary Representative Iryna Lutsenko, Parliamentary Gender Equality Committee Head Iryna Suslova, and Kharkiv Region Governor Yulia Svitlychna. They were joined by Slovenian Ambassador to Ukraine Natasha Prah, officials from the Council of Europe, and representatives from the USA, Australian, German, Polish, and Macedonian diplomatic missions to Ukraine.
The Forum agenda included focuses on the role of women in military conflicts, while attendees also explored the comparative application of gender equality practices and legislation in Ukraine alongside contemporary global best practices. Gender equality initiatives in the Kharkiv region specifically were also part of the discussion.