Maternity protection and pay equity

Ukraine commits to achieve gender equality and joins Biarritz Partnership with ILO support

The Biarritz Partnership is an international initiative for equal rights and opportunities for all. It was created to strengthen the responsibility of the G7 countries and to consolidate efforts of other countries in gender equality. The ILO assisted Ukraine in the accession process by providing technical support in two areas: maternity protection and pay equity.

News | 09 October 2020
The Biarritz Partnership promotes the adoption and implementation of progressive legislation for gender equality and the removal of existing discrimination that may persist. Its goals are:

• ending gender-based violence;
• ensuring fair and quality education and health;
• promoting women’s economic empowerment; and
• ensuring full equality between men and women in public policies.

Ukraine’s ambition to join the Biarritz Partnership is backed by five political commitments of the country  to achieve gender equality goals: developing a barrier-free public space, friendly to families with children and low-mobility groups; teaching children the principles of equality between women and men; preventing violence; reducing the gender pay gap; and creating better opportunities for men to care for children.

In the area of maternity protection, the ILO contributed with legal analyses and practical training for MPs, Government, employers’ and workers’ organizations on compliance with relevant international labour standards. These standards cover important topics, such as maternity benefits, including leave and cash benefits, protection of pregnant women from unsafe work conditions, prohibition of termination of employment and workplace measures for breastfeeding.

The gender pay gap in Ukraine stands at 20% (while the EU average is 16%). The Government commits to reduce the pay gap in partnership with the Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC) founded by the ILO, UNWOMEN and OECD. The Confederation of Employers of Ukraine, the Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine, the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine and the Kyiv Institute of Gender Studies  have already joined EPIC, where  membership is a gateway to information resources, policy solutions and peer-to-peer learning about the tools and methodologies to achieve gender equity. The ILO trained tripartite constituents about gender-neutral job evaluation methods, and provided online tools to assess equal pay practices.  Additionally, the ILO trained the line Ministry of Social Policy on the Participatory Gender Audit methodology.

Joining the Biarritz Partnership for Gender Equality “… is an important step for Ukraine towards equality in a broad sense --regardless of gender, age, cultural, physical or mental differences. The experience and support of the participating countries and the expertise gathered in the framework of the Partnership will certainly be of great importance in our work to create equal opportunities for all Ukrainians," said Olena Zelenska, the First Lady of Ukraine, who initiated that Ukraine joins the Partnership in 2019.