Gender Equality in Ukraine

(opinion article)

Women in Ukraine have equal opportunities with men, if they would have a desire and ability to make them – this opinion is quite widespread. However, it is false, statistics prove. Ukrainian women still face discrimination on the basis of sex.

Gender equality is the next stage of social-sexual relations after the patriarchal system. Gender equality as a principle is to study and end all social barriers that prevent people from appearing as individuals, as well as create equal social opportunities for the realization of the personality of women and men in all spheres of life, depending on the individual's choice of man.

Is there gender discrimination in Ukraine? Officially – no. At the judicial level, gender discrimination is prohibited by the Constitution and the Law “On the Principles of Preventing and Combating Discrimination in Ukraine”. In addition, in 1980, Ukraine ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. In 2005, the Verkhovna Rada adopted the Law “On Ensuring Equal Rights and Opportunities for Women and Men.” Even the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU has an article on gender equality in economic life, which declares the provision of equal opportunities for men and women in the field of employment, education and training, economic and social activities, as well as in the decision-making process.

In practice, Ukraine still maintains a rather conservative and stereotypical perception of women and men, their capabilities and roles that do not allow the full implementation of gender equality in all the aforementioned documents. Although in recent years, the situation is gradually improving.

An important step towards gender equality was the abolition of the division of professions into “female” and “male.” But this does not mean that discriminatory practices have disappeared in Ukraine or that there are no prohibited professions.

For example, in the army, there are still a number of “non-woman” professions, approved by the orders with the stamp “with restricted access.” In addition, the International Labor Organization Convention of 1935, which prohibits the employment of women underground and in mines, is still not ratified in Ukraine.

But the most flagrant violation of women`s rights in Ukraine remains domestic violence. About 600 Ukrainian women die annually from the hands of offenders, such as the Ministry of Internal Affairs data. In 2017, police received over 110,000 applications from victims of domestic violence.

90% of Ukrainian citizens who are victims of violence are women. The reasons are the stereotypes that a woman is “the keeper of the house,” whose function is to cook and care for the children. And as soon as she begins to claim her rights, she is subjected to violence – whether economic, psychological, physical, or sexual. And there was a new trend: if a woman tries to escape from the cycle of domestic violence, then the methods become more elaborate.

“The women`s happiness needs ‘love’ and ‘family “ – such stereotype about a woman is entrenched in the minds of Ukrainians. One can state: sexism in Ukraine is spread everywhere – in advertising, talk shows, politics and in everyday life.

The confidence that a nude female body will sell any product does not seem to leave the heads of many Ukrainian “advertisement makers.”Therefore, on many billboards of the country, seductive female images in obscene poses or with ambiguous slogans ‘sell’ everything: from concrete to land.

Moreover, there is no age limit: this advertising style is seen by everyone, including children and adolescents, in an appropriate attitude towards the woman as a body. In order to understand whether there is sexism in advertising, it is enough to replace the female image with men: it usually looks absurd, inappropriate or ironic.

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