EUAM joins conference on the professional development of women in the Ukrainian security sector

October 14, 2021

This week, the Ukrainian Association of Women in Law Enforcement (UAWLE) organised its first interregional conference dedicated to the professional development of women in the Ukrainian security sector. Dedicated to the Defenders and Defendresses of Ukraine Day, 14 October, the conference brought security sector professionals, including the EU Advisory Mission (EUAM) Ukraine, to exchange views on the principles and challenges of gender equality in law enforcement.

Founded in 2017, UAWLE is a professional network of women in the National Police (NPU), the State Border Guards (SBGS), the National Guards (NGU), and other Ukrainian law enforcement agencies. This year, the network decided to organise, in a hybrid format, a conference on “Breaking Stereotypes by Exploring Yourself” that brought together five cities: Kyiv, Lviv, Kryvyi Rih, Poltava, and Mariupol. Among the participants in the conference were the newly appointed Minister of Internal Affairs, Denys Monastyrskyi, the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs and Chairperson of UAWLE’s Board, Kateryna Pavlichenko, and Prosecutor General, Iryna Venediktova. They opened the discussion on the unreleased potential of women in the security sector.

Attending online from Donetsk State University of Internal Affairs, Senior Adviser on General Policing Carla Costa from EUAM’s Field Office in Mariupol also participated in the debate. As a woman ex-peacekeeper, Ms Costa shared her opinion as to why it is crucial to move from gender inequality to gender justice and increase women’s actual participation in the law enforcement sector.

“It is demanding to change some mentalities: there are various positions and professions that some societies believe are only a man’s job”, Ms Costa explained. “That is why we need to break the stereotypes perspective, believe in ourselves, and understand our strengths and weaknesses. By doing so, we can become mentors and role models and set examples for other women and girls to advocate for their rights… and perhaps also pursue non-traditional careers.”

The UAWLE conference also contributed to advance the implementation and monitoring of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MoIA)’s National Action Plan for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 “Women, Peace, Security” for the period to 2025, to ensure an equal representation of women and men in decision-making in the security and defence sector, following international standards.