The EU-Ukraine Association Agreement contains several important aspects aimed directly at the significant transformation of gender relations in society. Chapter 21 of the Agreement sets out the main areas of cooperation in the field of employment, social policy, and equal opportunities. Annex XL to Chapter 21 lists six specific directives that Ukraine is committed to implementing, thereby gradually bringing its legislation closer to that of the EU.
These include Directives:
1) implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin;
2) establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation;
3) implementing the principle of equal treatment between men and women in the access to and supply of goods and services; on parental leave;
4) on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health at work of pregnant workers and workers who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding;
5) on the progressive implementation of the principle of equal treatment for men and women in matters of social security.
Ukraine’s progress in the implementation of the provisions of these directives has already been analyzed in detail by independent experts.
How effective the legislative changes will be in the future depends to a large extent on the general state and trends of gender relations in society, the dominance of the constant reproduction of existing gender inequalities, disparities, segregation, and gender stereotypes, or the gradual transformation towards gender parity.
Article 420 of Chapter 21 of the Association Agreement provides, inter alia, for the pursuit of gender equality and equal opportunities for men and women in employment, education and training, economic and social activities, and decision-making. Therefore, our main analytical question will be to identify and summarize the main trends in the reproduction of gender differences in education, economic activity, social and status self-identification. Can we talk, if not about significant changes, then at least about noticeable trends of social change over the current decade, including the last five or six years?