Ukrainian women leaders exchange digitalization insights with UK counterparts

Ukrainian women specialists in the digitalisation of the public sector went on a study tour to London as part of the Women Leadership Programme

August 22, 2023
A group of people (mostly women but also a few men) are standing in front of a big screen with the inscription "Women Leadership Programme"

Participants of the Women Leadership Programme after the first lection within the study tour to London. 31 July 2023.

Photo: Paul Clarke

Kyiv, 22 August 2023 – Fifteen women specialists – leaders of digitalization from a number of Ukrainian ministries and state enterprises – visited London on a study visit this summer, during which they studied the UK’s experience in the digitalization of public administration, and briefed their UK colleagues on Ukraine’s progress in creating electronic public services – in particular the Diia e-government application and portal.

The study visit was arranged by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Ukraine with the support of the Government of Sweden and in partnership with Public Digital. It was conducted from 31 July to 2 August as part of the Leadership Programme for women involved in digital transformation.

The participants visited the UK’s Government Digital Service, the unit of the United Kingdom's Cabinet Office responsible for the digitization of public services, and met with its CEO Tom Read and Director of GOV.UK Christine Bellamy. During this visit, the delegation listened to a series of presentations on GOV.UK One Login – a once in a generation piece of cross-government transformation, alongside GOV.UK Pay and other GDS products being used to design and protect the user experience of government. Throughout the week, the team at Public Digital led a series of talks on digital transformation topics including inclusive and accessible design, leading in local government, whole service transformation and the latest international trends.

Amanda Smith, a Director at Public Digital, noted the rapid progress of Ukraine in the digital transformation of the public sector. She said the study visit was beneficial for both sides, as it stimulated an exchange of experiences on how to lead digital transformation and services development – especially in times of crisis.

“Hosting the study tour was really important because we wanted to create a space for curiosity to flourish, for inspiration from each other, to share our stories as women as well, and foster that sense of leadership and community and connection,” Smith said. “We were really struck by just how many fantastic women in Ukraine are leading that kind of change, and we want to see those stories being told.”

Dina Gnylitska, the Head of the Expert Group for Coordination of Regional Informatisation Programmes and Projects of the National Informatization Programme Development Directorate at the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, shared her impressions of the study tour: “The UK’s experience in digitalization is enormous,” Gnylitska said. “They’ve done a tremendous amount of work, including building the GOV.UK site. This is extremely interesting and useful for Ukraine. In addition, the most valuable part of the study visit was the experience of communicating with colleagues who implement and develop similar digital services for their citizens in another country. Therefore, thanks to participation in this programme, I have the opportunity to hone my approaches and apply new tools in my work.” 

The study trip was the final part of the Leadership Programme for women involved in digital transformation in the central authorities, and was organized at the end of 2022 by UNDP in Ukraine, with funding from Sweden. Specialists from the Ministry of Digital Transformation, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, the State Tax Service, the National Health Service and state enterprises took part in the programme. Within its framework, participants were given several days of training on leadership and people management, emotional intelligence and stress resistance, the basics of project management, and solving challenges.

Jaco Cilliers, UNDP Ukraine Resident Representative, noted that the advancement of gender equality is crucial for enhancing economic integration and the promotion of sustainable development.

Despite significant progress, women in Ukraine are still in the minority in senior civil service positions and in the IT sphere,” Cilliers said. “Therefore, it is very important to support and promote the empowerment of Ukrainian women professionals, especially in the STEM fields, in order to stimulate their personal and career development, and thereby achieve gender equality in the country in all areas. The organization of the Women Leadership Programme with the support of Sweden is part of this effort to promote inclusive and gender-sensitive approaches, which our organization consistently supports.”

Earlier, UNDP in Ukraine, funded by Sweden and in partnership with the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, initiated a pilot internship programme for girls in STEM. Seven female students and recent graduates of professions in the fields of science, technology, engineering or mathematics did two-month internships at the Ministry of Digital Transformation from the end of 2022 to the beginning of 2023.

All the above-mentioned initiatives for women were organized within the framework of the DIA Support Project, which has financial support from Sweden.

Media inquiries

Yuliia Samus, UNDP Ukraine Communications Team Leader,

Study tour to London