First Step to Success: Ten in One

In late June Ukrainian Women’s Fund held tenth consecutive “The First Step to Success” – a project aimed at developing a new generation of feminists.

This year, the program brought together not only girl leaders who won with their projects, but also participants from previous years. Young women met female ambassadors of Argentina, Slovenia and Finland. The diplomats shared their career and personal growth experiences.

Also, the precedents and prospects of gender policies in different countries were discussed – for example, the presence of the position of ombudsman and the minister for gender equality, programs aimed at ensuring equal opportunities, interfactional unions of women etc. The ambassadors also discussed the role and feasibility of gender quotas in political systems and issues that women face in diplomatic missions. Andreas von Beckerath, the Ambassador of Sweden, not only moderated the discussion, but also kindly hosted the event – it took place at his residence.

Also, senior girls learned and taught a lot at the training on tolerance, because most of them work closely or are interested in helping new socially vulnerable groups – internally displaced people or those who live close to the front line. Anna Lenchovska, executive director of TolerSpace, conducted the training.

Meanwhile younger girls presented their projects, attended an information hearing about the UWF mini-grants program and learned how to write projects at the special training.

The weekend began pleasantly: the winners of this year’s First Step received awards, and their elder colleagues shared their experiences, inspiration secrets and success stories. The girls were welcomed by Marta Kolomayets – the Chairman of the organizing committee of First Step to Success and the director of Fulbright Ukraine, Nataliya Karbowska, the chairman of the Ukrainian Women’s Fund and the project team.

“Be united. Work”, – concluded Iryna Slavinska, who moderated the discussion on the role of women in positive changes in the country. The conversation engaged the participants of the First Step and Larysa Kobelianska, Mariya Berlinska, Tamila Tasheva, Viktoriya Voytsitska, Nataliya Tarasenko. Opinion leaders advised the girls to use all opportunities to develop themselves, to build their identity on a system of values and professionalism, to believe that everything is possible. “Your right to vote, your right to property, your opportunity to marry and divorce at will – all that is feminism”, – said Mariya Berlinska. Larysa Kobelianska also emphasized the importance of this point: “Many young people get involved with the women’s movement now. They create openly feminist organizations. It’s a landmark, because it was difficult for the women’s movement to determine it’s relation to feminism. These changes relate to age”. The girls also discussed strategies for action in the project for peace and visited the Eyes of Cultures exhibition, initiated by one of the graduates of the project. The project ended with the training on gender sensitivity for this year’s winners.