2017 was a landmark year for Ukrainian women who choose careers and financial independence. Decree No. 256 of the Ministry of Health, which prohibited women to be employed for 450 professions, was finally cancelled. This decree not only prohibited daring women from taking on physically demanding jobs. The 25-year-old outdated Soviet decree affected women’s rights to pursue some high-paying and promising positions, which in the 21st century have long been neither unsafe nor physically exhausting.
Industrialization and automatization of labor processes have done their job, and today it is no longer necessary to be a powerful Hulk to make a successful career in construction, at sea, or in heavy industry. Women were given the opportunity to work at their calling, and some found their place in the metallurgical industry. We will share more about the “iron ladies” of modern Ukraine and the career opportunities metallurgy offered them, by looking at one of the enterprises where equal opportunity is more than just a slogan.
Corporate citizens in Ukraine, guided by European principles of work, sought to establish a balance among their employees. Thus, Pobuzhsky Ferronickel Plant, in accordance with its own sustainable development program, created equal opportunities for professional growth, advanced training, receiving a new profession, and obtaining higher education for all employees. The management of the plant and Solway Group consider these actions as profitable investments in human capital.
Olga Yurechko began her career as a crane machinist in 2003. Having received a higher education in the specialty of corporate economics for plant costs, she took a position of as a labor manager and norms engineer. Olga is not only a wonderful mother of two children; she is also a talented handywoman, sportswoman, social activist, and local county councilperson.
PFP supports on different levels employees who become mothers and creates favorable conditions for career building and responsible parenthood. In addition to contributions in the field of education, the plant funds the rehabilitation of employees’ children at summer health camps and funds spaces in preschool institutions. The plant also sponsors sports and culture, including groups and clubs which employees’ children may attend. Significant attention is paid to the development of artistic talents of creative youth, and to the development of additional opportunities for their implementation.
Olena Shamara gained interesting work experience before she became the head of the customs clearance department: she worked as a declarant, broker, and customs clearance agent. She effectively combines productive work at the plant and multiple social projects. Olena successfully coordinates charitable initiatives and projects of PFP.
The plant guarantees all the benefits provided by the legislation of Ukraine for women: additional vacation days, reduced working hours, such as the opportunity for mothers of young children to leave work at a time convenient for them.
“Special attention is paid to mothers with multiple children and multi-generational families. The presence of the latter at the enterprise confirms the effectiveness of PFP’s social policy, as many daughters choose to stay in the village and work alongside their mothers,” explained Denys Shevchenko, Director General of Pobuzhsky Ferronickel Plant.
Olga Tsap’s parents worked at the PFP metallurgical department and became her personal role model on the way from a burnt-out conveyor to a dispatch service operator. She pursued a degree in economics from Nikolaev Agricultural University, and a woman became the department’s economist. Olga creates wonderful toys, loves traveling, and writes her own travel blog.
At present, the company 535 women. They are employed across a broad range of specialties: laboratory assistants, technologists, controllers of the technical control department, collars, operators, cleaners, transporters, crane machinists, security guards, accountants, economists, personnel specialists, and more. Women make up one-third of the workers of the burning department and almost one-half of the utilities department. 45 of 50 CHL workers are women.
In the technical control department of Pobuzhsky Ferronickel Plant, headed by Inna Prykhodko, a purely female team was formed.
While female bosses are no longer unusual for the plant, they still occupy only one-third of senior positions. However, plant management seeks to balance opportunities for both genders using its own educational programs and cooperation with educational institutions as a tool.
Anna Maksymchuk, Deputy Chief Engineer for Environmental Protection, received a higher education at the expense of PFP within the framework of the program “Preparing personnel for production”. She started her career as a controller in the technical control department.
Women are less likely to realize their potential in the mining industry because of preconceived historical notions of danger and the type of labor at the plant, ignoring the existence of a number of safe, intellectual and interesting professions in metallurgy.
In September 2020, PFP launched an interactive project, “PICH”, the main purpose of which is to familiarize teenagers with the opportunities offered by the mining industry, and to increase interest in technical or specialized disciplines. One of project’s aims is to attract girls to receive metallurgical professions and to increase the number of women employed by the industry.