“We are strong as individuals but together we are powerful” reads the motto of the Association of Women in Law Enforcement that unites women and men from several law-enforcement agencies from all over Ukraine.
The annual conference of the Association, held on 3-5 December in Kyiv, brought together more than 300 law-enforcement professionals, local and international experts, government representatives, cadets and journalists to find ways of promoting gender equality and women's leadership, as well as preventing discrimination and gender-based violence.
Women and men serving in the National Police, the Border Guard Service, the National Guard and Emergency Service, as well as students of the Ministry of Interior educational facilities engaged in active discussions, shared personal stories and experiences, best practices and policies that need to be introduced to change the situation for the better.
In addition, participants had an opportunity to enhance their skills through a series of hands-on training activities on a number of topics, ranging from conflict management, crisis communications to stress-resilience and first psychological aid for the law enforcement professionals.
Opening the conference, Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov emphasized that ensuring gender equality is among the top priorities for the government of Ukraine and noted that 39% of law-enforcement professionals are women and around 20% of them serve in leadership positions.
“There will be no security, rule of law, access to justice without gender equality and it is the responsibility of each and every one of us to make it happen” - noted Grete Faremo, United Nations Under Secretary General and UNOPS Executive Director addressing the participants.
“You play a key role in dismantling stereotypes, eliminating harassment and discrimination and combating gender-based violence” – stated Osnat Lubrani, United Nations System Coordinator in Ukraine.
“Leadership is critical in advocating gender equality,” remarked Antti Hartikainen, EUAM Head of Mission, during the ‘Striving for Equality: The Role of Men’ panel. Mr. Hartikainen called upon men to become gender responsive and sensitive leaders and not to be afraid to step up and team up in promoting equality in law-enforcement institutions.
The conference was organized by the Ukrainian Association of Women in Law Enforcement in partnership with the EU-funded programme “PRAVO Police” implemented by the United Nations Agency for Project Services (UNOPS), the EU Advisory Mission (EUAM), the Canada-Ukraine Police Development Project (CUPDP), and the International Criminal Investigation Training Assistance Program (ICITAP).
The Support for Rule of Law Reforms in Ukraine in the areas of Police, Public Prosecution and Good Governance (PRAVO Police) project is funded by the European Union and implemented by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) in coordination with the EU Advisory Mission (EUAM).
The overall objective of the Project is to contribute to reform of the Rule of Law system in Ukraine and to align its functioning with the best European Union and International practices.