Ukraine seeks more female deminers amid resource shortages - Economy Minister


Ukraine is looking to boost female participation in demining operations due to a critical shortage of resources, Economy Minister Yulia Svyrydenko said during a meeting with Canadian Ambassador for Women, Peace and Security, Jacqueline O'Neill, on April 29.

"Gender equality is a core component of Ukraine's policy, which is founded on principles of integration, inclusiveness, and integrity. This is applicable across all sectors, including key areas such as demining," Svyrydenko stated, acknowledging the notable progress already made.

Currently, the average level of women's participation among all state and non-state operators in Ukraine is about 30%, which is in line with NATO's Women, Peace and Security agenda.

"We aim to increase the participation of women in demining activities", given the shortage of demining operators, equipment and training in Ukraine.

The government is also considering state funding for private operators to boost their numbers and to attract international companies to participate in the demining efforts.

Svyrydenko stressed the importance of inclusiveness, in particular for social categories and groups of special interest to the state, such as women and veterans, victims of explosive hazards, and persons with disabilities, to ensure their professional realization and social integration.

On April 4, UNDP Mine Action Specialist Oleksandr Lobov said that Ukraine’s State Emergency Service and State Transport Service were the leading organizations involved in demining, with over two thousand sappers working and 1,500 more to be recruited this year.

Despite these efforts, the numbers are still deemed insufficient with goals to increase the total number of deminers to five thousand within state institutions.

The humanitarian demining sector in Ukraine is also seeing rapid growth, with 33 organizations already accredited and an additional 50 awaiting accreditation.

Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko reported on April 5 that approximately 25% of Ukraine's territory remains mine-contaminated following the Russian invasion.

The Internal Affairs Ministry and the State Emergency Service estimate that clearing Ukraine of mines could take up to a decade.

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