The Ministry of Community and Territory Development of Ukraine reports women make up more than half of the national population. Nevertheless, critically few Ukrainian women hold the positions requiring political decision-making.
A politician, first of all, is a leader, and the leadership does not make difference between men and women. It is not a matter of gender. True leadership means responsibility and a complex burden. These are the challenges one needs to manage to make others follow.
Unfortunately, stereotypes, still firmly established in Ukrainian society, are perceived not as discrimination but as a part of culture.
This is quite strange in terms of historical perspective. After all, for at least the last hundred years, equality between men and women has been enshrined at the state level. There were 36% women in the composition of the last Soviet Council of the Ukrainian SSR, which number decreased 10-fold immediately in the first Ukrainian Parliament, amounting to only 2.7% (1990-1994 convocation). OPORA Public Network Study Report regarding women participation in the 2020 Local Elections, demonstrates the lack of general declarative norms on equality to ensure actually the same.
The Government lacks women: cultural stigmas and expectations of changes
In addition, the priority of opportunities for men is superior. Moreover, 51% of Ukrainians still believe that fulfilling family obligations leave no time for women for government appointments.
Public opinion research shows society’s expectation of woman’s priority for family obligations, and 70% of men believe the woman’s most important role is to take care of own home and family. Women’s average housework time is twice this one for men (29 vs. 15 hours per week). That is, the very public expectations cause unequal treatment and cannot but influence women’s choice of priorities in life.
Given such an attitude in the modern Ukrainian society towards the role of women in politics there is an increasing belief that Ukraine lacks a party representing the interests of women. About half of the respondents in the Rating Sociological Group survey on the role of women in the Ukrainian society stated the latter are underrepresented in the Government, the Verkhovna Rada, and local authorities.
Eighty-two percent support the idea of women engaging in politics, 12% oppose this. When evaluating the effectiveness of both gender representatives in a political capacity, the respondents agreed that gender does not matter in people’s or local deputy performance. That is, Rating Group survey results showed once again that men and women tend to see changes in the traditional roles of men and women.
Meanwhile, for several years in a row, the most recognizable people’s deputies among women in Ukrainian society are Yulia Tymoshenko (97% of respondents know her), Natalia Korolevska (76%), and Iryna Herashchenko (66%). Less than 60% of respondents know other female deputies.
82% Ukrainians support women’s intention to come toward power
It becomes obvious that Ukraine needs effective female politicians. According to the results of the parliamentary elections 2020, the share of female deputies is already 20.8% (88 women out of 423 deputies). However, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, it rates only 100thamong 193 countries as to the number of women in parliament. https://bit.ly/3n1m91D For comparison, the average rate in Europe is 27.7%, the Scandinavian countries – 41.4%, and the parliaments worldwide –24%.
Therefore, the baseline for growth is definitely present. That is why it draws consolation when young political forces with a female leader appear in the country in response to the needs of society. The National Platform, led by Kateryna Odarchenko, is one of such forces and currently participates in Kherson region political rallies.
The party goes to the Verkhovna Rada for the first time. It was established in 2020, following the collection of more than 14.000 signatures across Ukraine, and focuses on the intensification of direct democracy, democratic values, ??and human priority in the state. That is why the party contributes to using “local initiatives” mechanism for social advocacy of communities in direct dialogue of the citizens with authorities, and effective representation of their position on the top-notch of society.
Thus, one of the reasons for social issues stalling at the state level and insufficient protection of the rights of women and children is the lack of women in the corridors of power. However, society starts realizing that the lack of female representation in power not only contradicts the values ??of democratic development but also hinders the sustainable economic growth in the country, which infuses 20 million Ukrainian women with hope.