Women's Leadership Studio: Study Tour to Sweden

On September 16-20 fifteen women-leaders from Kharkiv, Luhansk and Donetsk regions went on a study tour hosted by Swedish Kvinnofolkhögskolan (feminist folk high school). Women leadership training and empowerment of Ukrainian women's movement were the main goals of the study tour to Gothenburg, the home town of one of the most powerful feminist CSO network.

The group visited various institutions: Gothenburg Municipality, Human Rights Center, Center for People with Disabilities, KvinnSam - National Resource Library for Gender Studies at the local university. And met successful women involved in women empowerment at various institutions. The Ukrainians learned about women's leadership, local authorities’ dialogue with communities, gender issues as an obligatory part of national and local strategic planning, problems that human rights activists address, and the story of Women’s History center turning into a National Resource Library.

“The fight for equality and human rights is still going on all over the world. It is important to voice your opinion, to always ask where the woman is in every process. Never give up, always support women and seek support of others, unite and defend your interests. Engage anyone who cares about human rights,” advised Mariya Voyvodova, Deputy Mayor of Gothenburg for Arts and Culture. After this meeting the female leaders got inspired and came up with particular ideas on implementation of gender equality in Ukraine.

“Thousands of people refer to the state centers for administrative services, which can serve as a platform for gender policy promotion and dissemination of best practices in this area. I believe we can organize training for the administrators of these centers to educate them on equal access to social services for all, to explain the basic principles of gender, " Tetiana Bervenova, an employee of Donetsk Regional State Administration, shared her impressions of the study tour.

“I was amazed by the design of school common space in Sweden. Upon return I will cooperate with the local authorities on delivering all necessary equipment for organizing similar space at our school. Swedish primary school kids can easily get any books and study guides on the shelves, which are located at their height level. We can rearrange our classroom space in the same way, it doesn’t require any significant investments, and I will implement this idea in our region and promote it at national educational events,” Oksana Kocherha emphasized. Representatives of the Kvinnofolkhögskolan hope to continue cooperation with Ukrainian women and believe that the women's movement will attract new members defending gender equality in our country.

Women's Leadership Studios is operating within the framework of the "Centre for Gender Culture as a Platform for the Empowerment of Women and Youth" project supported by the EU.