Women's Leadership and the Challenges of War: Results of an Advocacy Visit to Brussels

Representatives of Ukrainian women's organisations paid an advocacy visit to Brussels.

Ukrainian activists met with representatives of the European Commission and the European External Action Service, as well as with members of the European Parliament, Ukrainian diplomats and the Brussels expert community. The study and advocacy visit was organized from 29 May to 2 June 2023 jointly by the Brussels and Kyiv Offices of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES). Members of the delegation represented various women's and feminist CSOs, and academic and media communities.

For the Ukrainian delegates, it was an opportunity not only to personally meet with representatives of European institutions and the civil society sector but also to emphasize the contribution of the Ukrainian women's movement to the European integration process of Ukraine, to point out the importance of the role of Ukrainian women in the fight against the Russian aggression, and to share their opinions regarding post-war reconstruction, in particular through the prism of gender equality.

In their conversations with their European colleagues, the experts reported the need to organise efficient and sensitive assistance to victims of conflict-related sexual violence, in particular in the EU countries, which concerns both services for providing free psychological, medical, and legal assistance, as well as the possibilities of universal jurisdiction. It was also possible to raise the issue of reparations and a victim-centred approach in any interaction with affected Ukrainian women and men, and the importance of cooperation between EU institutions and Ukrainian NGOs in this direction. Special attention was also paid to the support of Ukraine in the war, the strengthening of EU sanctions against Russia, and Ukraine's progress on the path of European integration.

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