Press Release: Ukraine joins the HeForShe solidarity movement for gender equality

Ahead of the International Women’s Day, UN Women launched the HeForShe solidarity movement for gender equality in Ukraine and joined the global HeForShe Arts Week, which takes place from 8 to 15 March in different cities around the world. The HeForShe campaign kicked off a call for supporters of gender equality and women’s rights among men and boys in Ukraine.

Date: Thursday, March 22, 2018

(right to left): Olga Shurova, musical producer, Anastasia Divinskaya, UN Women Head of Office, Lev Shurov, HeForShe Advocate, Larysa Denysenko, human rights activist, journalist and writer, Anastasia Dieieva, HeForShe Coordinator. Photo: UN Women/Volodymyr Shuvayev
(right to left): Olga Shurova, musical producer, Anastasia Divinskaya, UN Women Head of Office, Lev Shurov, HeForShe Advocate, Larysa Denysenko, human rights activist, journalist and writer, Anastasia Dieieva, HeForShe Coordinator. Photo: UN Women/Volodymyr Shuvayev

In Ukraine, the HeForShe movement aims to attract audiences that can actively engage with the movement, promote attitude change and spread the campaign message through various communications channels, specifically social media. Opinion leaders and influencers from diverse and influential fields in Ukraine, such as in academia, sports, the arts, the private sector, government and more, will serve as public advocates for change and commit to concrete progress towards gender equality within their own fields and institutions.

The famous singer, jury member of the Ukrainian X-Factor and opinion leader Dmytro Shurov and his 14-year old son Lev Shurov became one of the first HeForShe champions in Ukraine. A series of creative promotional videos based on informal dialogues between the father and son about women in politics and art, women champions in sports, shared family duties and domestic work undermined gender stereotypes existing in Ukrainian society and initiated discussion among Ukrainian youth. The first video in the series had more than 25,000 views and reached about 65,000 people on Facebook.

Dmytro Shurov and his 14-year old son Lev Shurov. Photo: Photo: UN Women/Volodymyr Shuvayev
Dmytro Shurov and his 14-year old son Lev Shurov at the Docudays press conference. Photo: UN Women/Volodymyr Shuvayev

The HeForShe Arts Week in Kyiv kicked off with a joint press-conference with Docudays International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival that became a partner of HeForShe in Ukraine. The audience of the festival exceeds 20,000 people nationally. During the festival that will be held at the end of March, the audience will have the opportunity to watch the HeForShe promotional videos, participate in public talks and discussions around documentaries on gender equality, as well as learn more about the HeForShe Campaign.

"Men and women are different, but we are born with equal rights and opportunities. Most importantly, we all should have the opportunity to be ourselves, to be happy and to pursue our dreams. Our society will benefit from equality as a child who is loved and nurtured by both parents equally will flourish," said Dmitry Shurov in his emotional speech at the Docudays press-conference.

On 7 March, the National Art Museum of Ukraine hosted the HeForShe launch event. Ukrainian artists, public activists, ambassadors, representatives of the government and international organizations joined to celebrate gender equality and made their own commitments to the cause. The event was attended by more than 200 celebrity guests who made about 100 video commitments.

“We want concrete, systematic, structural change that can create equal opportunities and realities for women and men in the political, economic and social spheres. We are asking men to take concrete action, calling them to intervene at a personal level to change their behaviour and the attitudes and behaviours of those around them. We are calling upon governments, businesses, universities to change their policies. We want male leaders to become role models and change agents within their own institutions,” said Anastasia Divinskaya, the Head of UN Women in Ukraine.

Photo: UN Women/Volodymyr Shuvayev
The Gulliver, trade and business center in Kyiv. Photo: UN Women/Volodymyr Shuvayev

On 8 March, the large Trade and Business Center in downtown Kyiv The Gulliver, the Pedestrian Bridge over the Dnieper River and The National Art Museum of Ukraine shined in signature magenta - official color of the HeForShe.

On 9 March, in the framework of the HeForShe Arts Week in Kiev, the National Art Museum of Ukraine hosted a public lecture of the art historian Diana Klochko. In her lecture, Klochko drew parallels between married couples of monumental artists from Ukraine and Mexico: Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, Alla Gorska and Viktor Zaretsky. About 80 people attended the public lecture and received information on how they can promote HeForShe at their workplace and campuses.

On 12-14 March, Kyiv Subway Station Golden Gate (Zoloti Vorota) hosted an interactive installation created by the artist and performer Alevtina Kakhidze, who offered a creative polling format to educate the public on the notions of gender, biological sex and gender equality. Moreover, the subway passengers could take a quiz to check their Gender IQ. Altogether, about 400 people provided their answers to questions about whether they consider gender and sex to be the same thing, if gender is only about women, if men and women are equal but different, if men and women have equal opportunities and if gender inequality exists.

The HeForShe Arts Week in Kyiv concluded with a guided HeForShe tour of women's images in Ukrainian Art developed by art researcher Olga Galan at the National Art Museum of Ukraine. This year, Kyiv joined 10 world capitals that supported the global HeForShe Arts Week worldwide. It was an impressive week of artistic and cultural events in support of human rights and equality in Ukraine.