Programme ‘’Women and children’s rights in Ukraine’’

Communication Strategy

Title:   Eyes wide open.


Don’t close your eyes to what is happening today in Ukrainian society. Women don’t share equal rights with men. Women don’t enjoy respect or equal opportunities in work and professional life. Women and children are victims of violence and sexual exploitation. They are treated as lesser humans. They are second class citizens. Don’t pretend you don’t know or you don’t see. Open your eyes and act for the protection of women and children’s rights. Open your eyes and be part of the solution.

Definition and goals of the proposed strategy

The proposed strategy Eyes wide open is aiming at creating a cause across Ukraine for women and children’s rights. The goals of the strategy are:

  1. Identify the personal responsibility of every single person: regardless of any personal problems, people should not neglect human rights; even more, they should guard them, demand them and promote them.
  2. Get over stereotypes: practices and beliefs of the past cannot survive in a society of the future.
  3. Shape new role models: widely acceptable so that people can follow them.

Life in Ukraine is not easy for the people. Men and women are facing a very challenging reality. In such situations it is easy to neglect human rights, especially of the most vulnerable members of the society: women and children. People pretend to be “blind”; they turn their faces away and become indifferent towards crimes against women and children. Women and children should not be the scapegoats of the society. There is no excuse for violence.

This strategy is an open invitation to every Ukrainian to think about the hard fact of gender discrimination that many women and young girls are dealing with every day. It is a challenging but truthful call to Ukrainians to overcome unwritten traditions, socio-cultural mentalities or stereotypes obscuring their perception on the subject. That people are equal by nature and by law.

It is an open invitation to overcome old fashioned clichés: ‘’women are only good to stay at home’’, ’’ women should work in the lowest ranks of every profession’’, “women do not deserve equal education and work opportunities”, ultimately “that women deserve their fate, being sexually enslaved in inhuman conditions”.

This communicational strategy composes a solid platform to trigger an open dialogue in the society about what is really happening to millions of women and children every day. It is a channel to provide ‘’food for thought’’ to every Ukrainian citizen about life in Ukraine today and to help society deal with its modern problems. It is a starting point for surfacing serious problems, deep rooted in the society that affecting and deteriorating so many lives and threatening the evolution of the society itself. Speaking freely is one component. Providing new role modes is another. People must be shown that they cannot build a modern society on outdated mentality. A new role model for men and women must demonstrate that the discrimination against women and children is cruel, immoral, illegal and inhuman.

Famous women but also men will be an essential part of the campaign. Influential artists, cultural and spiritual leaders, actors, TV stars, journalists, politicians, entrepreneurs and others will be invited to join in the cause and obtain a key role to the campaign. As ‘’ambassadors of good will’’ they will be partly responsible to inform the public about the existing problems of discrimination against women and children. Influential people that pinpoint and speak openly about one of the most secretive and hidden faces of the society.

The core message will be:

Join us and open your eyes


Stereotypes are made to be broken. Women can be good mothers & wives but also successful managers, entrepreneurs, ambassadors, politicians. It is time to appreciate all women for all they can do/ offer to the society.

Women have equal legal rights by Law. Protect their rights, protect their lives.

Equal rights = Equal opportunities

Supporting equal rights for women and children means supporting society.

Men and women are equals by nature. They have same rights, abilities and capabilities and deserve to be treated as equals.

There is no fair sex, only fair minds and perceptions. Men and women are equals.

Human rights must apply equally to both men and women. That is why they are called human.

Human trafficking is against women’s will. No woman wants to be sold or treated as a sexual object. Help victims of human trafficking. Help to stop human trafficking.

Help to stop violence.  Help victims of violence.

It’s time to erase domestic violence from Ukrainian homes.

Ukrainian Law supports and fosters gender equality. What about you?

There are only 2 jobs acceptable for kids. Going to school and playing. Help Ukrainian kids to live like kids.

There is no reasoning in discrimination against women. Think and act against gender discrimination.

Ukrainians fight for their freedom. Ukrainian women victims of trafficking have to buy it off.

Information and Facts

Article 149 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code [laStrada-Ukraine]

The sale or another paid transfer of a person, as well as any other illegal transaction with respect to a person, concerning the legal or illegal transfer of that person via the state border of Ukraine, with or without that person’s consent, with the aim of further sale or paid transfer of that person to another person(s) for sexual exploitation, use in porno business, engagement in criminal activities, debt bondage, adoption for commercial purposes, use in armed conflict, or the exploitation of the labour of that person. 

Ukraine is currently one of the largest exporters of women to the international sex industry.

(CATW Fact Book, citing “Ukraine Film Warns of Forcible Prostitution Abroad”, Russia Today, 1 July 1998)

According to local NGOs, street children, both boys and girls, as young as 7 are involved in prostitution as a mean of survival. The children might or might not have a pimp.


The country is a major source of women and girls trafficked to Central and Western Europe and the Middle East for sexual exploitation.

(US Dept of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 1999, 25 February 2000)

The International Organization for Migration estimated that between 1991 and 1998, 500,000 Ukrainian women have been trafficked to the West. Popular destination countries for women from Ukraine include: Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Spain, Yugoslavia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Czech Republic, Croatia, Germany, United Arab Emirates, Syria, China, the Netherlands, Canada and Japan.

The IOM concluded that 40 percent of the women in Ukraine are at risk of becoming victims of trafficking mainly due to their interest in emigrating or seeking employment abroad.

A method of recruitment is “marriage agencies,” through advertisements in news papers, sometimes called mail-order-bride agencies or international introduction services. Many of these agencies operate on the Internet Recruiters use “marriage agencies” as a way to contact women who are eager to travel or emigrate.

The most common way women are recruited in Ukraine is through a friend or acquaintance, who gains the woman’s confidence. Anincreasing phenomenon is called “the second wave” in which trafficked women return home to recruit other women. An estimated 70% of recruiters are women.

In 2006 the International Organization for Migration, estimated that:

  • 117,000 Ukrainians each year become victims of human trafficking
  • Most victims are women and children
  • Ukrainians are most often sold for forced labor on farms, prostitution, begging, and also various forms of crime

Disseminating information

The important results so far of the project as well as the anticipated results will have to be communicated and disseminated in order to inspire a positive attitude towards the project and a sense of success and change. The proposed communication strategy and in particular the implementation of goals 2 and 3 are quite appropriate for the dissemination of project outputs, such as the capacity of national and regional authorities to elaborate, monitor, implement and report on gender-sensitive strategies/programmes/plans developed and the policy advice to harmonize legislative framework with Ukraine’s basic law and international obligations to ensure gender equality provided respectively.

Means and activities for passing messages to different target Groups

Ukrainian women

Spreading the information is one of the main subjects of this campaign. Therefore Ukrainian women must be approached and informed through special designed activities. Organization of events in local communities, detailed brochures for woman rights and the Ukrainian legislation regarding gender and employment issues and testimonials of trafficking victims will be widely created and distributed.

Children, adolescents and youth

Internet banners and on-line advertisements or sponsorships are important tailor-made activities for younger groups. Using their language and their ‘codes’ of communication is an effective means for passing messages and information about gender issues.

The role of school and University should also be considered equally important. Organization of events at schools and seminars at Universities is also an effective way for passing on information. In addition posters and flyers can be used as supplementary tools.

Media players

Taking into account the important and sensitive role of journalists, editors and publishers, specific tailor-made activities will be designed. Media players must be provided with special promotional material with statistical information and important data concerning gender issues, trafficking data for women and children, and women’s employment information.  A very detailed press and media kit will be created and sent to them as well as the pin with the symbol of gender equality to wear, as a gift.

Important media players, especially journalists and reporters, can be supplied with travelling visas to countries where Ukrainian women are being trafficked and record their lives as far as this is feasible. This is done in an attempt to directly dissolve the fallacy of glamorous, easy and wealthy life abroad.

Options and tools for the implementation of the communication strategy

Above the line communication


Main tool of awareness campaigns of this magnitude is undoubtedly television. This medium can create a big impact to the public and in effect change society’s mentality. Television commercials are holding a very important role in presenting core messages and launching a campaign. TV spots, through creative implementation of communication strategy, can inform and awake the audience. Television has the power to make a campaign the ‘’talk of the town’’ and reach every possible target group of people.

Regarding the educational role of television there is a very useful option that should be taken under consideration. The infomercial tv spots. Longer in duration than tv spots, infomercials can provide more substantial information about gender equality issues, trafficking and female employment. They can be emitted in a daily or weekly basis and host people related to the subject of the campaign. Psychologists, journalists, scholars and even female victims of gender discrimination can talk, inform, educate and share invaluable experience with the audience.

Television is a very effective yet very expensive medium.


Radio commercials are a very simple but useful tool to provide information for the proposed awareness campaign. Low cost and effective radio holds and informative role addressing to a very wide range of people. Its ‘’journalistic’’ character adds extra value to campaigns concerning human rights issues. Due to their low cost, radio commercials scale overwhelmingly. On the downside they do not possess the power of image.


Press advertisements

Glamorous female magazines and respectful newspapers cannot be excluded from the proposed awareness and brand awareness campaign for Women and children’s rights.

Their role is vital for launching and hosting press campaign advertisements, building the image of gender equality and spreading the image of the logo for equal gender rights. Tailor-made press advertisements for local magazines and papers can also be created.

Female magazines and news papers could also host a teaser campaign for launching the Brand awareness logo.

Press advertisements are useful tools to create a strong image and successfully implement the proposed strategy for the cause.

Typically, press advertisements, at least in EU countries, are relatively expensive for their benefits. However, newspapers that have an established profile can boost the importance of the campaign. Female magazines also appeal to a large part of the female population.

Below the line advertising

Television and radio

An appropriate below the line tool is the sponsorship of talk shows. TV and radio programs on both local and national media, can host gender issue related discussions. Reaching different target groups both in western and eastern part of Ukraine is essential for the successful implementation of the communication strategy.


Brochures, posters and information leaflets are imperative tools for the proposed awareness and brand awareness campaign for gender equality. This type of information must be distributed by schools, ministries, public and governmental institutions all over the country. It is the most simple and effective way to raise public awareness and spread information on the issue.

Round tables and conferences

Round tables in local societies and press conferences in national level are also essential tools for the cause but their reach is limited to mid and upper class of society.

Online media

Online advertisements and sponsorships of gender related topics, covering the most influential online media in Ukraine, is a necessary action to be taken. Online tools are banners, small videos and flashes.

Alternative communicational channels

Alternative activities will provide significant support by spreading messages and information. Their role of awakening and informing Ukrainians on subjects such as gender issues, domestic violence, female employment and human trafficking is important.

  • Educational institutions, libraries and schools must be encouraged and inspired to organize events and talks regarding gender issues. In order to help the opening of the society towards problems such as human trafficking, an alternative way could be – for those institutes- to hold open discussions inviting also victims of trafficking (girls and women) to talk and share their own experiences.
  • Galleries and museums must be encouraged to organize cultural events and exhibitions related to gender issues.
  • A writing contest regarding gender issues could be organized by the Ministry of Family and Youth. The winning stories can be published in a book.
  • All influential leaders and decision makers could be invited to share the cause and wear the pin and logo of the campaign for gender equality issues, in their public appearances.   

Rural areas

Local female organization should be encouraged to hold open discussions and provide infomercial material to women. Information on gender issues based on Ukrainian law and stories of success of simple women that made a difference in their local societies should also be part of the cause.

Guerrilla marketing activities

One of the latest and most effective trends in alternative communication channels are guerilla marketing activities. A few examples of guerilla marketing could be:

Street happenings

Theatrical street happenings – related to gender topics- could be organized in public places. Amateur theatrical groups could be financed and supported to perform sketches and original theatrical acts related to gender equality, violence against women & children and human trafficking issues.

Public buildings

As part of the brand logo awareness campaign public buildings and statues of iconic Ukrainians can be used in an alternative way. The logo and the supporting line of gender equality can be projected at night by special lighting.

Public transportation

Buses and trains as well bus and train stations can also be alternative and unexpected places to promote the logo and messages for gender equality. Issues about trafficking especially can be very creatively presented in synergy with the idea of traffic, reaching out thousands of everyday commuters.

Internet virals

The creation of internet virals should also be taken under consideration. Virals can spread messages and tell stories. Virals can turn the cause into a very popular subject, especially among adolescents and young adults. The use of viral videos is the latest effective tool in western advertising and its role is becoming more and more important as alternative communication channel. Viral promotions may take the form of video clips and interactive Flash games, accompanied by awareness material such as quizzes and simple games. To have a spreading effect, viral promotions should result in urging the user to spread the application to friends and family.

Brand management 

Logo and visibility strategy

On Interpretation, Aristotle teaches that:

‘’Spoken words are the symbols of mental experience, and written words are the symbols of spoken words. ‘’

All languages are made up of symbols. Inevitably, the communication language used in a social awareness campaign needs also strong symbols or logos to communicate its messages.

In a parallel action with the cause for gender equality ‘’Women and children’s rights in Ukraine’’, a brand awareness campaign will be designed. The implementation and success of social campaigns of this magnitude cannot fully be achieved without a strong visual symbol.

The message of this awareness campaign will be supported (ideally launched before the campaign) by a logo-symbol of the fight against gender discrimination. The symbol of the fight against gender discrimination will act as the main visual umbrella for all media activities. A logo -and the ideas it will represent- will become one of the central elements of the communication strategy and the key visual for gender equality in Ukraine.  It will be the ‘’Flag’’ of women’s rights in Ukraine.

This symbol will be created for the needs of the social campaign sponsored by EU.  But the scope of this logo will be much more ambitious. The use of this symbol will be at the disposal of any medium, organization, product or activity in Ukraine that will take actions promoting gender equality issues.

Logo as a symbol of awareness

There are many examples of successful symbols of social awareness. The symbols’ role is very important in informing and motivating people to learn and take action for the cause.

“Red Ribbon”, a visual symbol to demonstrate compassion for people living with AIDS and their caregivers is a world wide symbol created for a cause. First worn publicly by Jeremy Irons, a famous actor, the ribbon soon became renowned as an international symbol of AIDS awareness.

“Fashion targets breast cancer” symbol is another world famous logo and a successful example of raising awareness for a very important cause. It is worn by women all over the world as an act of solidarity and compassion for women patients with breast cancer.

Modern societies find it difficult to express qualities such as compassion, solidarity or tolerance in public. The creation of logos that serve noble causes allows simple people to participate and openly demonstrate their support and solidarity to suffering fellow men, women and children. It is also a very effective channel for raising awareness and spreading information about important social subjects as human rights and gender rights.

Brand awareness strategy

A single – minded symbol, easy and simple to use, is the desired and proposed visual strategy for the logo, regarding the ‘’Women and children rights in Ukraine’’ awareness campaign.  The use of colors should be simple, (ideally it would be preferable to use one color) but the visual must be strong. As a symbol of gender equality it should have clear associations to the protection of women and children’s rights. In addition, the logo should be aesthetically elegant but neutral in order to be worn by men and women. EU characteristics may also be incorporated. Finally it is important not to be extremely modern or incomprehensible to the majority of people, in order to be used for many years as symbol of equality.

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