Supporting displaced Ukrainian women to pursue careers in STEM and creative fields

The goal is to educate 5,000 displaced women in new creative and technological fields.

October 7, 2022
Illustration: UNDP Ukraine

Kyiv, 7 October 2022 – At last count, nearly 7 million Ukrainians remain internally displaced within their own country, unable to return home for fear of violence or simply because their homes are no longer there. These people have lost everything except their dignity and the few possessions they were able to leave with. An overwhelming majority of them are women.

To help some of these women pursue new careers in fields related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the UN Development Programme recently joined up with the Projector Institute, a leading private Ukrainian EdTech institution that provides independent professional online education in IT and creative industries. The goal is to educate 5,000 displaced women, with 500 trained by the end of this year. The project will provide both educational grants and career counselling.

Daria Taran of the Projector Institute said that when the full-scale war broke out, her team decided to support Ukraine on the educational front, “because we believe that to be educated means to be free.”

In three weeks Taran and her team established the Projector Creative & Tech Foundation with the goal of educating 5,000 Ukrainian women in new creative and technological fields. UNDP supported the creation of the Foundation with funding support from the Government of Sweden.

The lack of gender balance in STEM is a problem across Europe, where, according to Eurostat, just 17 percent of the people working in STEM roles are women. Women hold only just 5 percent of leadership positions in the technology industry. Worldwide, women make up only 28 percent of the workforce in STEM, and men vastly outnumber women majoring in most STEM fields in college. The gender gaps are exceptionally high in some of the fastest-growing and highest-paid jobs of the future, like computer science and engineering.

With the support of UNDP and the Government of Sweden, 40 displaced Ukrainian women have already received grants for studies in the areas of UI/UX Design and Graphic Design. Twenty women already managed to take first steps in mastering a new profession.

Manal Fouani, interim UNDP Resident Representative to Ukraine, said that women in Ukraine are playing a major role in sustaining the social and economic fabric during the horrifying times of war. “Women should be recognized for this role and continue to engage in the recovery and development processes of Ukraine, she said. “Gender equality and women’s empowerment should be at the center of all recovery plans, as the imperative foundation for success.”

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Yuliia Samus, UNDP Ukraine Communications Lead; e-mail: