We are just in the middle of the road – women leaders of ES Transcarpathia and Kharkiv chapters meet in Uzhhorod

A forum of women leaders of European Solidarity of Transcarpathia and Kharkiv region took place in Uzhhorod on April 27 with the support by the National Democratic Institute.

About 95 participants of the forum discussed the development of the women’s movement, the promotion of gender equality, the principles of gender-oriented governance, the role of women leaders in the socio-political life of the regions and other topics.

“Unfortunately, in 2021, Ukraine slipped to 112th place in the world in terms of women’s representation. The International Parliamentary Union analyzed this rating and noted, in particular, that we have fewer women in government than in 2019. Although 21% of women deputies in parliament are the largest in the history of Ukraine, we have a very low representation of women at lower levels of councils. This is especially the case in village and settlement councils, as well as in the positions of heads of territorial communities. I believe that we are only in the middle of ensuring that all decision-making institutions reflect the real gender situation in the country. Women make up 54% of Ukrainian population. We feel under-represented,” said MP Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze (ES).

“We are far from overcoming the gender bias. If we talk about gender quotas, only 14 out of 64 deputies in the Zakarpattia Regional Council are women. Did the new election legislation help us? Yes, because the representation of women has doubled,” said Denis Man, Deputy Chairman of the Zakarpattia Regional Council.

Ian Woodward, Director of the NDI in Ukraine, also greeted the Forum participants. “We support the women’s movement in European Solidarity.” This is an extremely important aspect of the party’s work. The support of society is very important in this movement. Two-thirds of citizens want to see a better balance between women and men. This means that people want more diversity in local councils. That way, there will be more alternative views and the local council will be able to represent the interests of different categories of the population,” Ian stressed.

MP Maria Ionova (ES) spoke in more detail about the strategic planning of the development of the women’s movement and the activities of the inter-factional parliamentary association for the promotion of gender equality “Equal Opportunities”.

“Elections to local authorities were held in accordance with the new Electoral Code of Ukraine, which entered into force on January 1, 2020 and provides, among other innovations and changes, the so-called gender quotas. Gender quotas have forced political parties not only to pay attention to women politicians, but also to invite them to run. But did women have access to decision-making? Not at all. Why and k happened? Due to heavy workload, unpaid housework, the impact of the pandemic, bullying and cases of sexism, formal attitude of parties and violation of quotas,” said Ionova.

MP Iryna Herashchenko, co-chair of the European Solidarity faction, spoke about women’s mentoring programs. In particular, she stressed that many women do not go into politics because they are insecure. “Ukrainian women are too self-critical and society contributes to this,” the lawmaker stated.