News Tag: gender
Women entrepreneurs from Volyn region discussed the barriers on the way to international markets

The CUTIS project in cooperation with regional chambers of commerce and industry launched a series of #SheChampion seminars. The main goal is to discuss barriers women entrepreneurs face in business and international trade, as well as share experience in entering foreign markets.

On October 10, in cooperation with the Volyn Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the second SheChampion seminar was held in Lutsk, bringing together about 20 participants.

Women entrepreneurs discussed gender issues in international trade, learned more about online trading and shared success stories of finding new partners in foreign markets.

Successful craftswoman Kateryna Voylova has shared the secrets of opening an online store on Etsy e-commerce platform.

Olena Tarasenko from the Volyn enterprise “VGP” (TM “Ruta”, big paper products producer) described the history of export development to EU countries.

At the end of the event, the participants had the opportunity to take part in an interactive master class on employees’ motivation. Vira Porovska, CUTIS gender expert explained how to retain key specialists using non-financial motivation.

In the process of the seminar, women entrepreneurs exchanged advice, accumulated new ideas for improving the export strategies of their enterprises, shared their experience and set up new business contacts.

Similar events are planned in other regions of Ukraine. The next seminar will be in Vinnytsia, on October 17. Participation in the event is free in case of pre-registration

SheChampion: Women entrepreneurs from Kherson and Chernihiv learned new life hacks about entering foreign markets

The CUTIS project in cooperation with regional chambers of commerce and industry launched a series of #SheChampion seminars. The main goal is to discuss barriers women entrepreneurs face in business and international trade, as well as share experience in entering foreign markets.

On September 26, in cooperation with the Kherson Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the second #SheChampion seminar was held in Kherson, bringing together about 30 participants.

Women entrepreneurs from the Kherson region discussed gender issues in international trade, new trades in the Canadian markets and shared success stories of finding new partners in foreign markets.

Lota Bertulfo, CUTIS principal gender equality expert, made a presentation related to gender concerns in international trade. Victoria Gavrenkova (founder of agricultural companies Kaissa, Sun Light, BBBV), Natalia Yavorskaya (manager of the honey section of LLC “Sodruzhestvo”) and Yevgeniia Lukash (founder of LLC “EvgaKids”, children’s clothing) shared their export stories and gave practical advice for export-oriented businesses based on the previous experience. 

On October 3, the second #SheChampion seminar was held in Chernihiv in cooperation with the Chernihiv Chamber of Commerce and Industry. About 30 women entrepreneurs participated in the event.

During the event, the participants learned about gender issues in international trade, and perspective sectors for Ukrainian small and medium enterprises in the Canadian market.

In particular, Maksym Boroda, CUTIS Senior Trade and Investment Policy Expert, paid attention to major trends in the Canadian footwear, clothing, furniture, and confectionery markets.

Besides, such significant business issues as cybersecurity and the importance of choosing the right digital systems for business development were discussed. 

Similar events are planned in other regions of Ukraine. The next seminar will be in Vinnytsia on October 10. So keep an eye on the updates.

SheChampion: women entrepreneurs from Ivano-Frankivsk region discussed barriers in business and trade

Women entrepreneurship is often faced visible and/or invisible barriers. They may be related to external factors such as business development or entrance the international markets as well as internal barriers, for example, gender stereotypes in Ukrainian society.

To overcome these barriers and create a space for communication and knowledge sharing, a series of #SheChampion seminars is being organized by the CUTIS project in cooperation with regional chambers of commerce and industry.

The first meeting, held on April 11 in Ivano-Frankivsk, united more than 40 businesswomen, public organization representatives, and local authorities.

During the meeting, Vira Porovska, a gender expert of the CUTIS project presented a gender-based analysis of export barriers for small and medium-sized women businesses in 5 industries (apparel, footwear, confectionary, furniture, and IT services). Ms. Porovska also paid attention to those spheres where the number of women entrepreneurs is negligible.

Yevhen Sozansky, partner of Xtheta Management, an official partner of the Shopify platform, made an overview of international e-commerce and presented the platform’s capabilities for small business development.

Ostap Pavliuk, owner of West Trade Group (medicinal plants) shared his own experience in developing exports to new challenging markets.

Similar events are planned in other regions of Ukraine. Next seminar will be in Chernigiv. Do not miss your chance!

Video: webinar “A taste of GroYourBiz”

Check out the video of “GroYourBiz” webinar as a part of the Export Promotion Office’s She Exports platform.

GroYourBiz is a Canadian initiative that offers women entrepreneurs access to monthly group consultations with proven experts from leading private sector organizations such as Bank of Montreal, TELUS, and others.

Experts work together to encourage and support small and medium-sized businesses. More about GroYourBiz can be found at:

During the webinar, Barbara Mowat, Founder & President of GroYourBiz, MyBusinessMyBoard™ Advisory Boards, along with Frances Mannarino, GroYourBiz advisor spoke on how women’s business advisory boards work in Canada, and also shared their experience of creating and developing GroYourBiz .

The partner of the event was the Canada-Ukraine Trade and Investment Support Project (CUTIS), implemented by the Canada-Ukraine Chamber of Commerce and the Conference Board of Canada and funded by the Government of Canada through the Global Affairs Canada.

Guidance note: Why Integrate Gender in Trade and Investment Promotion?

This guidance note, produced by the Canada-Ukraine Trade and Investment Support (CUTIS) project, explains why gender equality cannot be ignored in trade liberalization agendas. Key gender gaps in terms of women’s economic agency are identified as well as ways in which they can be effectively addressed in the Ukrainian context.

Download the full document here.

About the author

Barb MacLaren is an Ottawa-based research consultant working in international development. Barb’s research interests include gender equality, trade, migration, and development issues. Currently, Barb is working as a gender specialist for the Canada-Ukraine Trade and Investment Support project.

To contact the author please e-mail at

Video: She Talks with Diane Francis

Watch a video of the “How can women succeed in the modern world” She Talks event with Diane Francis, a world-renowned award-winning columnist, best-selling author, investigative journalist, television commentator and screenplay writer from Canada. Currently Diane is Editor-at-Large at Canada’s National Post and non-resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council. She is an expert on Silicon Valley, future technology, geopolitics, energy, business and white collar crime.

In her speech, Diane overviewed women’s rights and achievements in her lifetime, gave examples of women successes in business and other fields, outlined the main challenges faced by contemporary women, and gave advice on how women can succeed in the modern world.

The event was organized by Export Promotion Office in partnership with Canada-Ukraine Trade and Investment Support Office, funded by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada.

See some photos from the event below:

(Closed) Vacancy: CUTIS is looking for a part-time gender expert

The Conference Board of Canada (CBoC) is implementing the Canada-Ukraine Trade and Investment Support (CUTIS) Project funded by Global Affairs Canada to increase exports from Ukraine to Canada and investment from Canada to Ukraine. CUTIS Kyiv office is seeking candidates to fill part-time position of Ukrainian Gender Equality Expert. The successful candidate will work closely with the Canadian gender expert and Ukrainian beneficiaries (GofU, export promotion office, business associations, businesses in priority sectors) to implement a multi-year Gender Equality Strategy.

Main Responsibilities:

  • Implement field research within the SME sector about gender gaps in export industries. Design and conduct research activities, as needed;
  • Coordinate, co-author and edit knowledge reports with gender equality recommendations on policy-relevant subjects;
  • Design and deliver capacity build program and activities for public and private sector stakeholders relating to women’s empowerment in business and trade;
  • Engage gender and trade stakeholders in Ukraine (women’s business associations, relevant government agencies and civil society NGOs, etc.);
  • Coordinate logistics for events, chair meetings and webinars;
  • Participate in project planning and reporting and provide requested input.

Skills and Qualifications:

  • Master’s degree in public policy, economics, sociology, management, or a relevant undergraduate degree plus a minimum 3 years’ relevant professional experience;
  • Proven experience planning and delivering capacity building and training programs and events of a professional nature;
  • Experience of coordinating knowledge-sharing events, including hosting and chairing meetings;
  • Experience authoring reports about gender equality issues;
  • Excellent interpersonal, team building and presentation skills;
  • Excellent written and verbal communication in English and Ukrainian;
  • Experience working with international donors in Ukraine; with Canadian cooperation, an asset.

Qualified candidates should submit applications by September 10, 2017 to Applications must include: a CV (max. 5 pages), 1 or 2 writing samples or report, and a letter of interest. We thank all applicants, however only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

Galyna Mescheryakova: Application of gender aspects in the international trade may ensure sustainable development

Gender gaps create obstacles for sustainable development. Using Ukraine as an example, the author describes how international trade may facilitate overcoming gender inequality in the economy.

In today’s world of expanding international cooperation and liberalization of trade, it is very important to understand that trade relations, as well as any economy, have a gender-based structure. Trade has a different impact on men and women as workers, manufacturers, traders and buyers, consumers of social services and taxpayers. There is a need for a detailed analysis of gender-disintegrated data as to who produces, sells and buys certain goods and what is the influence of certain trade treaties on men and women in the signatory countries.

The knowledge obtained will help supporting the measures that will have a positive impact on the development of exports, improvement of working conditions and remuneration, small and medium business development and, as a result, improvement of the population’s welfare. Conversely, improper policy may result in the loss of jobs, aggravation of poverty, reduction of public expenditures for social services. In this article, the author uses the example of Ukraine to analyze gender gaps as an obstacle for sustainable development and demonstrates how international trade may facilitate extension of economic opportunities for women.

Global agenda in the area of sustainable development – “not to leave anyone behind”

The issues of gender equality and expansion of economic opportunities for women become increasingly important in the international development programs. On the global level, gender equality is recognized as a mandatory condition for sustainable development that combines economic, social and environmental sectors. In 2015, world leaders adopted the Global Agenda at the UN Summit in the form of 17 Sustainable Development Goals until 2030 for liquidation of poverty, combating inequality, injustice and climate changes. Equality of men and women, as well as expansion of opportunities for girls and women were not only formulated as a separate Goal 5 “Gender Equality” but became keynote aspects for all Goals “not to leave anyone behind”.

Gender equality is not only one of the fundamental human rights but a major condition of social progress and economic growth. Half of the global population and, consequently, half of the world’s potential are women and girls. According to the World Bank women constitute about 40% of the global labor force, one third of registered business owners in the world and, according to many estimates, cover 70–80% of consumer spending. In other words, women play an important role in the formation of the economy.

Economists claim that “gender equality is a reasonable approach to the economy”.[1] “Economy grows when women are provided with equal opportunities for paid work and access to production facilities”.[2] “Investments into programs of improvement of profitable activity areas for women may return 7 dollars for each invested dollar”.[3] Those expert conclusions emphasize that women have a potential to become the agents of progressive changes and social progress.

Limited access to economic opportunities and discrimination

Gender inequality is a global problem: women have limited access to economic opportunities and decision-making and are discriminated throughout the world. Likewise, Ukraine faces serious challenges for exercising equal opportunities and rights for women: gender gaps and inequality as to the economic opportunities, as well as discrimination in the labor market, limited access for women to finance, business and trade. According to the 2015 data of the State Statistics Service of Ukraine economic activity of Ukrainian women (56.2%) and employment (51.7%) are lower in the labor market than similar indicators of men (69.2% and 62.2% correspondingly).[4]

According to the International Labor Organization women are not only paid less in the whole world but there are generally fewer women in highly paid professions. The labor remuneration gap in those professions is larger and keeps growing at the top level of wages. Thus, the gender gap in labor remuneration among managers is about 40%, which is twice as much as the gap at the medium career level that constitutes about 20%.[5]

In Ukraine, the gender gap in labor remuneration follows the same trend and almost reaches 26% with the highest percentage in highly paid sectors with traditional prevalence of men: industry, information technologies and telecommunications. At the same time, the remuneration gap is the lowest in public sectors with low salaries where mostly women are employed – education and healthcare.

Having lower income, women face higher risks of poverty and more frequently appear in the most vulnerable categories of the population requiring governmental social aid.

It should be noted also that women are insufficiently represented among business owners or top managers and this trend is evident both in Ukraine and globally. Table 2 demonstrates the results of the World Bank’s research. While the share of companies with women participating in ownership is 35.1%, the percentage of businesses with women as top managers is 18.5%. The share of companies with the women’s majority among owners is even lower – only 13.3%.

Generally, presence of business ladies and female top managers in different sectors of Ukraine reflects the traditional model of labor division: there are more women clothes manufacturing (61% of female business owners and 55% of female top managers) and retail trade (50% and 32% correspondingly). “Male” sectors include manufacturing of machinery and equipment, as well as non-metal mineral products. In addition, women’s participation decreases in top management of large companies (9% among managers of the company with 100 or more employees) and they are managers of small firms more frequently (24% of female top managers in the firms with 5–19 employees).[6]

On the average, Ukrainian companies owned and managed by women are smaller and, consequently, less profitable compared to those owned and managed by men irrespective of the sector, size and turnover.[7] Female entrepreneurs face additional obstacles and risks connected with access to loans and financing more often than men. Considering the above, we may expect that more male than female entrepreneurs export goods out of Ukraine.

International trade may become one of the ways to extend women’s economic rights

How can development of trade relations help to overcome gender inequality in the economy?

First, trade treaties may become a tool for the governments to take measures for pursuance of gender equality at the labor market and in business.

For instance, Ukraine undertook obligations under all most important international documents and adopted a number of legislative acts that prohibit gender discrimination and assert equality of men and women in all areas. De facto, however, as we discussed earlier, the situation is far from gender parity. At the same time, the Association Agreement signed in 2015 between Ukraine and EU including a deep and comprehensive agreement on the free trade zone may realistically strengthen gender equality in the country. This agreement makes it obligatory for the parties to support development of trade in a way to ensure the full and productive employment and decent labor for all men and women, as well as strengthen the dialog and cooperation in the areas of employment, job safety, social protection, social integration, gender equality and non-discrimination.

The agreement requires bringing Ukraine’s laws into conformity with EU legislation, and the Ukrainian government is correctly drafting legislative acts aimed to implement the following EU directives in the gender area:

  • On equal opportunities and access of men and women to goods and services;
  • On equal treatment of men and women in the area of social support;
  • On equal treatment in the area of labor and employment;
  • On paternity leaves;
  • On security and health protection of pregnant female workers at the workplace.

Second, trade extension may have a direct impact on women by securing the access to employment and better jobs, decrease of discrimination in labor remuneration and increase of wages in the export-developing sectors.

At the same time, one should be very careful in selecting the sectors because development of the areas where women dominate (for instance, light and food industry) may result in creation of new jobs for them and increase of salaries while the male-dominated sectors may fail to offer adequate opportunities for women. On the other hand, competition in the market increases demand for female labor as being cheaper. For example, there may be a threat that women will be treated as a labor force more suited for low-paid professions and, as a result, engaged in tedious jobs with low added value and salary, unfavorable working conditions and lack of career growth.

Third, trade development may reduce barriers for business ladies with regard to the access to resources (financial, technological) and services (training, export promotion) and, as a result, provide wider opportunities for business expansion,  participation in exports and growth of profits.

To make this happen, however, a policy should be implemented with the aim to support development of women’s business. As it was already noted, women are more frequently engaged in smaller business with limited access to capital, as well as lack of knowledge and skills, connections and contacts, which restricts production of goods with higher added value and efficient promotion of goods in the market. In addition, women are often overburdened with housework, care of their families and children. All of this makes them unprepared to use export markets and they remain at the local level without any potential for expansion and growth brought by trade liberalization. Besides that, it should be remembered that female manufacturers and traders may face increased competition from imported products, particularly, lower prices for imported goods as a result of reduction of customs duties.

Fourth, trade treaties may positively impact the welfare of women as consumers and taxpayers.

Reduction of prices for imported goods from the basic consumer basket as a result of the decrease/liquidation of customs duties may improve the welfare of poor population groups. Thus, women as consumers may expect benefits from liberalization of trade as they receive lower income, are poorer than men and act as key buyers of the goods from the basic consumer basket, particularly, foodstuffs.[8]

Fifth, extension of trade relations may support development of the socially responsible business.

In 2016, Ukraine signed the Free Trade Agreement with Canada, a country famous for the fact that its consumers increasingly care of the standards used for manufacturing of goods:

  • approximately 6 of 10 Canadians consider themselves as “ethical consumers and are ready to pay more for the goods produced in compliance with ethical standards”;[9]
  • Canadians are ready to pay 23% more to buy the goods manufactured without the use of children’s labor, which is twice as much compared with the last year.[10]

If Ukrainian companies want to expand trade with Canada they have to enhance ethical standards of manufacturing of their goods.

Finally, the change of customs tariffs may influence public revenues and, consequently, either decrease or increase of public expenditures for social needs.

Women as major consumers of social services in the areas of healthcare and education may either suffer or benefit. Therefore, it is very important to elaborate on the trade policy in order to minimize social losses and direct it towards compensation for the “losers” in the sectors exposed to unfavorable impact in the process of trade liberalization.

Integration of gender approaches contributes to a deeper and fuller understanding of trade and trading policies. In particular, the following aspects may be emphasized: revealing of various consequences of trade using the data broken down on a gender basis; detection of income inequalities and vulnerable population groups; integration of social factors into economic analyses. This provides a basis for reinterpretation of the macroeconomic and trade policy, particularly, by increasing their social importance and broadening the coverage.[11] Another positive effect is the increase of the level of awareness of the importance of gender issues for sustainable development, activation of civic society participation in the process of negotiation and implementation of treaties, as well as expansion of the international dialog and cooperation.

A trade policy that incorporates the above gender aspects may make sure that vulnerable groups of men and women use the opportunities that will arise. The policy should not be limited by a focus on traditionally “female” sectors. Instead, it should be aimed to increase economic involvement of women, particularly, in production of the goods with a high added value. The government may contribute to the development of trade-related infrastructure, support of vocational education and business training, extension of services for business, development of associations and communication platforms with a focus on the needs of female entrepreneurs. It is important to remember that gender aspects of the trade policy should be balanced and realistic and take into consideration the economic and social aspects of the country’s development.


Author: Galyna Mescheryakova – CUTIS Project Gender Expert

Source: ICTSD


[1] World Bank, 2007

[2] Research of Extension of Women’s Rights and Opportunities. European Parliament, 2016

[3] UN Women, 2015

[4] State Statistics Service of Ukraine, online:

[5] Global Report 2016. Inequality in Job Remuneration, ILO, 2016

[6] Enterprise Survey, WB, 2013, online:

[7] Investment Climate in Ukraine, International Finance Corporation, 2011

[8] Cabo Verde survey, UNCTAD, 2011

[9] Mapping your Future Growth, BDC, 2013

[10] Ipsos Reid Survey, 2013

[11] UNCTAD, 2012

[Closed] CUTIS is looking for experts/institutions to support conducting a gender survey

The Canada-Ukraine Trade and Investment Support (CUTIS) Project for conducting Survey on Gender-based barriers of SMEs to Trade and Growth is currently seeking:

1). Quality control expert

The Contractor should have proven experience in:

  • conducting mixed-method quantitative and qualitative research, which has resulted in published reports;
  • designing and implementing broad-based surveys in Ukraine or a country with the same level of economic development;
  • sampling, designing a quantitative survey instrument and direct implementation of the instrument across a number of regions;
  • familiarity with survey methodologies of various kinds (such as census or cluster sampling);
  • data collection expertise (and dealing with large datasets);
  • conducting quality and quantity control of data collection;
  • strong oral and written competencies in English.

2). Gender expert

The Contractor should have proven experience in:

  • experience designing, conducting or analyzing enterprise surveys and surveys on social sciences topics;
  • experience designing survey instruments (including reference sheets or primers for survey-takers);
  • lead author of recent publications on gender issues and the economic/business development;
  • familiarity with quantitative and qualitative data analysis (using a variety of software programs), especially comparative analyses; and
  • strong oral and written competencies in English.

Experience conducting enterprise surveys is a must for both quality control and gender expert.  The applicants must have a proven in-depth understanding of the subject matter – a mix of social and economic issues, preferably relating to SMEs in Ukraine.

Interested candidates should submit applications – indicating which expert position they are applying to – by May 19, 2017 to Applications must include: a CV (max. 5 pages), 1 or 2 writing samples or survey report, and a letter of interest. We thank all applicants, however only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

See the full Terms of reference for the quality control and gender expert positions here.

3). Survey-taking institute

The CUTIS project is also currently accepting proposals from interested organizations to assist its gender team analyze challenges faced by SMEs in export industries, as part of the gender equality strategy of CUTIS.  The primary role of the research institute would be to implement a survey in 5 export industries. The objective of this survey is to establish evidence of the gender gaps in business management and in international trade, including trade with Canada, facing SMEs in Ukraine. Universities and research institutes are invited to apply for this opportunity by completing all application requirements detailed at the link below.

See the full Request for proposals for survey-taking institutes here.