Ukrainian Women’s Congress in Odesa brought together more than 60 participants from the South of Ukraine to discuss the status and development objectives of gender policy at the local level.
Presenting the subject “Ukraine’s political landscape and trends in gender issues”, Mary O’Hagan, Senior Counsel and Senior Director of NDI in Ukraine, said that expansion of women’s political opportunities is a major challenge for the entire world and Ukraine in particular. Among the 144 countries that entered the global gender gap rating of the 2017 World Economic Forum, our country ranks 61st. According to Ms. O’Hagan, although this gap is decreasing, the process is very slow. Unfortunately, this is relevant not only for Ukraine.
Mary O’Hagan quoted an impressive fact: if global gender gap could be reduced by 25%, it would bring additional $ 5.3 trillion to the world economy!
An important factor that can positively influence the reduction of gender gap, decrease of inequality, should be active involvement of women in political life. Effective tools for this include the introduction of electoral quotas during parliamentary and local elections, as well as the political will of influential male politicians. Ms. O’Hagan noted that today there is a tendency for electoral support for male politicians who defend the principles of gender equality (Macron’s and Trudeau’s victory at the elections in France and Canada, respectively).
In her speech, Mary O’Hagan emphasized that to build lasting parity between women and men in all parts of the world, it is necessary to drastically change the existing rules and procedures that impede the realization of women’s potential.
Depending on the country or region, requirements and accents may vary. But in one way or another, fundamental requirements must be gradually met: equal access to the labor market, ensuring gender parity in the recruitment of candidates, quotas for female candidates, adoption of laws on equal wages, etc.
The subject of increased representation of women in politics was actively discussed by the Congress participants. Thus, in her speech, Iryna Gerashchenko, First Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Ukrainian President’s Commissioner for Peaceful Settlement of the Situation in Donetsk and Lugansk Regions, noted that the area of security should also overcome stereotypical barriers and discrimination against women. “I consider the fixation of electoral quotas and strengthening of women’s positions in the Armed Forces of Ukraine to be our key issues in this year’s Parliament”, Ms. Gerashchenko emphasized.