Historically, the city of Dnipro is masculine. A large number of factories provides opportunities for the development of the “male” industry. This has been the case for the last 80 years. But we can see modern trends in which changes are taking place. Step by step, slowly, but they are happening. About 4% of Dnipro’s top management are women, when more than 62% of the city’s population are women. This shows us that women are almost not involved in the decision-making process, and sometimes an environment is artificially created where women do not have the opportunity to realize their potential. Among the reasons that prevent more active participation of women in social and economic life, the following are most often cited: the traditional perception of the role of women in society as mothers and wives, the low level of political activity of women, women’s consciousness, the informality of the women’s movement in Ukraine, women’s reluctance to take a more active role participation in management structures, sometimes opposed by men. Usually, state structures and institutions do not make special efforts to find or attract women to leadership positions. Therefore, the feminist organization Gender Stream proposed the creation of a pilot project “Development of female leadership” in Dnipro.
As part of the project:
- Conducting the forum “Women’s Development leadership”, where 79 women and girls were involved.
- A broad information campaign was organized and 10 experts in the fields of politics, business, art, marketing and media were involved.
- 13 volunteers were involved in the implementation of the forum.
- Receiving a 20% discount for 40 forum participants for online STEM training.
- Invitation of the finalists of the project to a meeting with the mayor of the city, Boris Filatov.
- Internship in the city council of 18 girls.
- 2 girls got the opportunity to work in the Department of Social Policy.
- Conducting a workshop on public speaking for 18 girls and women.
The purpose of the project:
1) Raise the level of awareness of girls regarding their participation in politics and decision-making processes. – Done!
2) Teach girls public speaking and public speaking skills. – Done!
3) To convey information about the existing problems of promotion of women to management positions and
tools for solving them. – Done!
4) To introduce representatives who have successful experience in choosing a profession despite the stereotype. – Done!
There can be a long history of success of holding the first and so far the only forum “Development of Women’s Leadership” in Dnipro.
Let us tell you that due to limited funding, we were able to invite only 40 participants to the forum out of 79 candidates. This outraged some of the applicants, but we explained from a positive point of view, and 12 girls offered to pay for their own lunches. That is why there were 52 participants at the forum instead of the planned 40, before that we were lucky with renting a room, and when there were more people who wanted to sit on the chairs, the owners of the establishment brought theirs, on which they work.
10 speakers from different fields and with different stories about their experience, success, failure stories and life hacks spoke at the forum. Our speakers were:
Yuliia Dmytrova is a deputy of the Dnipro City Council and deputy director of the social policy department.
Iryna Hrytsai – adviser on gender issues to the head of the Dnipropetrovsk regional state administration.
Vlada Mykoliuk is Concord bank’s marketing manager.
Karina Gaeva is a designer of her and her sister’s clothing brand GA.EVA.
Kateryna Bandurovska – HR Partner at Luxoft.
Nadiika Vovk is the head of the “Knyharnia “Ye”.
Anastasia Volodchenkova and Mariia Vasylenko – founders of “IDEST Agency”.
Vlada Brusylovska is the founder of the “Vlada Brusylovska Foundation”.
Olha Palii is the founder of the Zabeba.li site.
Olha Vladymyrova – general director of 9 channel.
Yuliia Kurochkina was the moderator of the event.
What lessons did we learn at the end of the forum?
- If on one day there is a large concentration of interesting, successful, charismatic speakers – then the lunch will be “on the go”. In the future, we will choose a smaller number of speakers per day, or we will create a forum for two days.
- It is important to leave time for breaks – a must. The participants and speakers showed a great desire to communicate, and the time buffer between the speeches should be mandatory for the networking of the participants and speakers.
- If in Kyiv the trend of “young” women is up to 35, then in Dnipro it is up to 45 years. It is at this age that women allow themselves to become more active and involved in social projects in the region.
- The photos of the forum received a lot of likes and shares, but we understand that it was important to create video stories of the forum. This gives participants and speakers the opportunity to return on a sunny day and attract new ideas to the new forum.
- A point project with a forum, training in public speaking and an internship in the city council showed that the participants needed constant help. There are not enough point measures for them, which can only show other women’s roles in power, business, and the public sector. The participants lacked constant mentoring support throughout the project. But let’s return to the minimum funding, which does not provide the opportunity to attract permanent mentoring.