HeForShe Congress 2020 gives business the tools to become more gender sensitive

Every year Ukraine`s HeForShe Congress unites progressive businesses around the theme of gender equality and non-discrimination.

On 1 October, the HeForShe Congress took place for the third time and as the threat of coronavirus persists, it became an online platform. This time, under the slogan “Equally valued in business” the issue of supporting equal opportunities for all employees was the main theme of the event.

The focus of HeForShe Congress 2020 was to provide Ukrainian business and private sector partners with the basic understanding and tools on how to practically promote gender equality in their work and to change the corporate culture.

"There is an increasing number of businesses investing in their employees. More men and women benefit from the inclusive environment that allows for personal growth, encourages creativity, and supports reconciliation of work and family responsibilities. This is a win-win situation, that brings businesses more sustainability and effective use of men’s and women’s talents and makes employees more satisfied and productive,” said Erika Kvapilova, UN Women Representative in Ukraine.

The speakers list included CEOs, Director level leaders, HR directors and managers, who have a deep understanding of how their business have successfully promoted gender equality through various solutions and were able to discuss how they addressed their challenges and achieved their results. They shared their successes and failures of integrating gender equality at work in a series of short videos, that became a part of the online platform.

“One of the biggest obstacles to gender equality is stereotypes, and very often bias is unconscious. We conduct trainings aimed at developing employee awareness, and this is what helps us to improve the atmosphere in the company and the principles of corporate culture,” – shared Maryna Zakharina, HR Associate Director of Ernst&Young Ukraine at the panel discussion on Why business should be safe space for workers.

During the session How Leaders Drive Changes in Corporate Values, senior executives of StarLightMedia, Ferrexpo Poltava Mining and IT-Integrator talked about the competition of corporate meanings, a new understanding of leadership, and gender equality as a sustainable value.

“Gender inequality needs to be addressed, and it is the leader who must take on the implementation of gender policies at the company level. We tested the company's gender sensitivity and found the role of gender ambassador - a person who oversee the implementation of gender equality in the company. The main thing is to start and continue moving in the right direction,” – resumed Viktor Lotous, General Director and Chairman of Ferrexpo Poltava Mining Management Board.

Questions of how businesses can remain efficient, not lose skilled and experienced workers, support their employees not only professionally, but also in striving to be super-parents were discussed by the representatives of Nestle, Deloitte Ukraine and Intellias.

“To become a gender-sensitive business, management must decide that it is important and listen to the needs of employees. If you understand that these are the values you share, then the rest is just a formality. You will do it, because for you it will go without saying,” – Viktoria Chornovol, Partner of Tax & Legal department at Deloitte Ukraine.

For those companies that are ready to strengthen their intentions with concrete actions HeForShe Congress presented the Women’s Empowerment Principles as a great tool launched by UN Women, that is being used by over 3,600 companies around the world to achieve gender equality.

Created by UN Women, the HeForShe solidarity movement for gender equality provides a systematic approach and targeted platform on which men and boys can engage and become change agents towards the achievement of gender equality. The HeForShe movement in Ukraine is implemented with the financial support of Sweden.

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