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The National Democratic Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through citizen participation, openness and accountability in government.


Anna Starostenko (center), a UDAR local councilor from Kyiv, listens with colleagues as NDI presents the results of its public opinion research on gender issues in Ukraine.

Nearly half of Ukrainians think there are too few women in elected office, according to a poll released today by the National Democratic Institute (NDI). Ukrainians believe women politicians are better equipped than men to deal with many important policy issues, and they want political parties to address barriers to women’s political participation.

Regardless of their age, education, or marital or parental status, the women surveyed believe that supporting qualified women candidates is important. Both men and women, by a 4 to 1 ratio, said they would be more likely to vote for a party that had some form of outreach to women voters and candidates. In addition, more than 8 in 10 favor providing women candidates with the same access to resources, media and positions on parties’ candidate lists as men.

Among the obstacles Ukrainians see hindering women’s involvement in politics are household duties, lack of time, and limited access to money and connections relative to men.

Ukrainians view women as being more warm, likable, honest, fair and just, and consider them better able to deal with issues of child care, education, health care, equal rights for women and containing the cost of living. They also perceive women as better managers than men.

Men are seen as better able to handle issues related to industry, jobs and corruption. While negative perceptions of women are few, Ukrainians have no trouble ascribing negative traits to men – seeing them as more corrupt, out of touch, tied to oligarchs, prone to in-fighting and in politics for personal gain.

“The demand for bringing more women to elected office is growing in Ukraine, which will bring new perspectives and strengths to politics in this country. This presents a clear opportunity for elected officials, parties and leaders of nongovernmental organizations to win supporters as well as gain fresh approaches to problems,” said Kristina Wilfore, NDI resident director in Ukraine.

Finally, the poll found that 71 percent of Ukrainians support the creation of the Equal Opportunities Caucus in the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, which promotes gender equity in the parliament. Further, the public is overwhelmingly supportive of the caucus’ agenda, which includes guaranteeing equal rights and access to opportunities, and well as protecting and safeguarding pensions and retirement security.

The poll was conducted Nov. 16-27, 2012, by the U.S. firm Lake Research Partners and the Kyiv-based Razumkov Center for Economic and Political Research. NDI supported the poll as part of a program promoting women’s political participation, which included focus groups among women voters last May.

This program is undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

Ce programme est réalisé avec l'appui financier du gouvernment du Canada accordé par l'entremise de l'Agence canadienne de développement international (ACDI).





Published Feb. 5, 2013

Updated Feb. 7, 2013