Promoting empowerment of women in Ukraine’s justice and emergency services

March 8, 2024
A panel discussion is taking place in a room with a group of women seated in front of an audience. The panelists, some of whom are dressed in black uniforms with yellow trim, are sitting behind a table with name tags and microphones. There are national flags of Ukraine, Japan and the United Nations behind them. In the foreground, the back of the audience is visible, mostly consisting of individuals wearing jackets with "Rescuer" inscription.

Representatives from the State Emergency Service and the National Police participate in a panel discussion on the experiences of women working within justice institutions and emergency services in Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 5, 2024.

Kseniia Nevenchenko / UNDP Ukraine

Kyiv, 5 March 2024 – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Ukraine, supported by the Government of Japan and the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs, has held an impactful event aimed at elevating the visibility and leadership of women in the peace and security sector.

The event, promoting the UN’s "Women, Peace, and Security" agenda, brought together women and men serving in Ukraine’s justice institutions and emergency services, along with representatives of partner organizations, united by their common goal of supporting war-affected populations and promoting access to justice for all.

The event focused on promoting security by and for women, within and beyond justice and emergency institutions. It began with dialogues featuring remarkable women from the National Police and State Emergency Service (SESU), who shared their personal and professional experiences and the challenges they have faced during the conflict. 

The concluding discussion involved experts and professionals from UNDP, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the SESU, CSO JustGroup, and the Coordination Centre for Legal Aid to assess and accelerate progress in creating a secure environment conducive to the well-being of both their personnel and the war-affected populations they serve.

Speaking at the opening of the event, H.E. Kuninori Matsuda, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Ukraine, reiterated Japan's commitment to supporting Ukraine and its efforts in empowering women, stating that, “addressing women’s needs with gender-responsive and inclusive solutions, and ensuring their active participation in shaping recovery efforts, is crucial during these critical times. The government and the people of Japan will continue supporting Ukraine in maintaining peace and human security, with support for women being an integral part of this endeavour.”

Olena Kondratiuk, Deputy Speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, highlighted the importance of implementing the “Women Peace and Security” Agenda, saying, “this resolution asserts that women should not only have the right and opportunity to participate in all aspects of the security sector, but also possess the ability to exert influence and access decision-making processes. This is one of the priorities for Ukraine at the moment, and we thank our partners for their support in achieving it.”

Kateryna Pavlichenko, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, “Over 20% of security and defence forces are units of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, a significant part of which are women,” she said. “The experience gained by Ukrainian women soldiers, police officers and rescue workers in recent years is unique. I’m grateful to our partners, UNDP and the Embassy of Japan to Ukraine, for their consistency and support for equal rights and opportunities in Ukraine’s security sector.

UNDP Resident Representative in Ukraine Jaco Cilliers underscored the ongoing importance of women's empowerment for just and sustainable recovery amid war. 

“UNDP recognizes the vital role women play in Ukraine's recovery efforts,” Cilliers said. “They serve as the backbone of the economy, actively contributing to security, justice, and emergency response.”

“Today’s event highlights UNDP's commitment to fostering inclusion, visibility, and participation for all. We express heartfelt appreciation for the resilience of the government and the people of Ukraine in the face of crisis, and for the invaluable support of the Government of Japan in advancing human security in Ukraine.”

UNDP, supported by funding from the Government of Japan, has consistently bolstered Ukraine’s justice and emergency institutions, with a focus on ensuring their accessibility to all. Key achievements in 2023 include:

  • Training over 1,000 lawyers, with 750 of them being women, helping to provide 88,600 consultations for individuals affected by war.
  • Equipping 307 representatives of justice institutions, 170 of them women, with skills in identifying war crimes.
  • Supporting the Ombudsperson's regional network in providing legal advice to 1,800 individuals, 1,440 of them women, affected by war.

UNDP and Japan also initiated ongoing efforts to provide the SESU and National Police with equipment they require, including demining and forensic tools.

Background: The event was conducted within the UNDP project "Promotion of Human Security in Ukraine Through Responding to the Multidimensional Crisis Caused by the War," financed by the Government of Japan, and the global campaign “Invest in women: Accelerate progress.” Amidst the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, women are facing heightened challenges in accessing essential services, with a staggering 8 million women and girls in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, according to UN Women data. Enhancing women’s participation and access to decision-making in the crisis response is vital to ensure the needs of affected communities are met.

Media enquiries: Yuliia Samus, UNDP Ukraine Head of Communications; e-mail: