July 13, 2024
A plate reading “Danger mines” set in a tree in the forest outside Izyum, Kharkiv region, amid the Russian invasion in Ukraine.

Ottawa to give Ukraine $4 million to fund gender-inclusive demining

The phrase ‘gender-transformative mine action’ proved the biggest stumbling block online, with some on X wondering if landmines themselves had a gender

A relatively minor item in an announcement from the Prime Minister’s Office regarding funding for “gender-transformative mine action” in the war in Ukraine has raised eyebrows on social media.

The press release that went out Saturday makes mention of $3.02 billion in financial and military support to Ukraine in 2024, but it also outlines a number of smaller, targeted initiatives.

One of these, listed as “Gender-inclusive demining for sustainable futures in Ukraine,” has a funding budget of $4 million.

“This project from the HALO Trust aims to safeguard the lives and livelihoods of Ukrainians, including women and internally displaced persons, by addressing the threat of explosive ordnance present across vast areas of the country,” the item reads. “Project activities include conducting non-technical surveys and subsequent manual clearance in targeted communities; providing capacity building to key national stakeholders; and establishing a gender and diversity working group to promote gender-transformative mine action in Ukraine.”
(Bernier X post won’t display)

The buzzword-laden final phrase caught many off-guard, and social media began filling up with queries and jokes about what it could mean.

People’s Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier was perhaps the most straightforward when he tweeted a picture of the policy in question, adding: “No joke! YOU’RE ALL PAYING TO PROMOTE GENDER-INCLUSIVE DEMINING IN UKRAINE”

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