In the words of Karyna Starodubtseva: “I am proud of my university, which has resumed its work from scratch so that every student can realize their dreams”

HeForShe University Tour presents articles written by students about the issues and opportunities they see when it comes to achieving gender equality.

Karyna Starodubtseva is a Bachelor of Law, Volodymyr Dahl East Ukrainian National University, Severodonetsk. Today, more than half the world’s population is under 30 years of age. Students and youth are the new generation of leaders and changemakers, and it is critically important to understand their priorities as we shape the gender equality movement to change the world. Created by UN Women, the HeForShe solidarity movement in Ukraine has launched the HeForShe University Tour. This is a chance to listen and learn from students about the issues and opportunities they see when it comes to achieving gender equality.

Due to the harsh realities of the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine, my university has been relocated from Luhansk to Severodonetsk. For several years now, our university has been housed in buildings that previously belonged to the Severodonetsk Chemical-Mechanical Technical School, but they are not adapted to the educational process of such many students.

The university lacks infrastructure facilities that ensure the right to a barrier-free environment. In particular, our buildings have several floors, but there is no elevator in any of them, and the university cannot overcome this problem on its own. Last year, the medical center closed, the dining room is small and is located on the second floor. In my opinion, all this is an important component of the right to education, which is expressed in adaptability and accessibility for all.

At the same time, the university administration is making great efforts to bring closer the implementation of the principle of inclusiveness: our institution uses a dotted Braille and has ramps. To make the educational process more accessible to all students, including those in the less mobile group, we use the e-learning system "Electronic Campus". It came in handy both after relocation in 2014 and during COVID-19 quarantine.

Many ideas for change are generated by active students who, in particular, participate in the Debate Club and volunteer in the NGO Women's Initiative Foundation, which works on the issue of gender-based violence.

Despite all the difficulties, the University was the first among the displaced to receive a significant grant for reconstruction: the administration found the premises, started repairs, and most importantly - saved teachers' jobs and opportunities for students, and this is very important. I am proud of my university, which has resumed its work from scratch so that every student, every teacher can realize their dreams and feel part of a big family.

UN entities involved in this initiative
UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women