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Olena Zelenska takes part in Invest in Women summit

27 Oct, 2023
Olena Zelenska takes part in Invest in Women summit

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First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska participated in the Invest in Women High-level summit, which took place during the open debate of the United Nations Security Council on Women, Peace, and Security on October 25-26 at the United Nations headquarters in New York, the United States.

The UN Women's Peace and Humanitarian Fund (WPHF) invited the wife of the President of Ukraine as a key speaker at the summit. Since its establishment in 2016, the UN Women's Peace and Humanitarian Fund has been supporting women's organizations, activists, and human rights defenders to increase investments in women, particularly women leaders in civil society, including in Ukraine.

The fund states, "While their courage moves and inspires the world, local women leaders in Ukraine more than ever need the political support and financial resources they deserve."

Olena Zelenska participated in the event via a video link and expressed her gratitude to the organizers for addressing such an important topic and for supporting Ukrainian women in the face of the Russian aggression.

"When we talk about women who work in crisis conditions, about women who, despite the danger, without hesitation take on leadership roles, about women who lose everything due to war and start over, Ukraine and Ukrainian women have something to say about it. Every second small-sized business in Ukraine is run by women. What's more, I would say these are remarkable women – 67% of them have higher education, and every fifth woman even has two degrees. It's these women who, in the past year and a half, have lost and continue to lose everything – not just their homes but also their businesses and jobs. It's good they are fortunate to stay alive. 95% of our women entrepreneurs have felt the impact of the war. If they haven't lost what they had, they've lost many opportunities, being set back in their development," the First Lady said.

At the same time, she said that Ukrainian women do not give up in the face of difficulties – they open new businesses to replace the ones destroyed and acquire new professions.

"Women who have become forced displaced persons abroad also don't want to remain passive recipients of aid. They seek subjectivity and activity. Thus, every tenth new business in Poland, which has taken in the most of our refugees, is Ukrainian. I call on the governments of our friends to provide opportunities for women's entrepreneurship and activism. You will see that our women don't want to rely solely on aid. They want and deserve to be active participants in the economy," Olena Zelenska said.

The President's wife said that Ukrainian women are the face of our resistance. According to her, there are nearly 60,000 women in the Ukrainian Armed Forces, which is the highest figure among NATO countries' armies. Five thousand women are actively involved in combat operations.

"Right now, the government is considering what it can offer to these women when they return to civilian life. For instance, the government has adopted a strategy to reduce the gender gap. This strategy aims to enable these young, dedicated veterans with skills and entrepreneurial experience to fulfill their potential and unfold their capabilities. It's about ensuring that all their experience contributes to growth," the First Lady said.

Olena Zelenska said that by investing in women, the world is investing in its own growth. As stated in the McKinsey Global Institute report, if women achieve gender equality in the labor market, it could add 26% to the global annual GDP by 2025.

The Invest in Women high-level summit brought together government officials, civil society leaders, UN representatives, prominent individuals, and philanthropists who aim to address critical funding gaps for local women's and human rights organizations operating in unstable and conflict-affected regions. Notable participants in the summit included UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, journalist, politician, and human rights activist Tawakkol Karman, and actress, producer, and Global Advocate of the UN Women's Peace and Humanitarian Fund Kristen Bell.

The Odessa Journal

The Odessa Journal

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