Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Gender, Politics and Society in Ukraine

Gender, Politics and Society in Ukraine

Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 432
  • Book Info
    Gender, Politics and Society in Ukraine
    Book Description:

    Gender, Politics, and Society in Ukraineis particularly innovative in its exploration of both women's and men's experiences and the ways in which gender relations shift over time in societies undergoing transitions to democracy.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8587-1
    Subjects: Sociology, Political Science

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. List of Figures and Tables
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  5. Contributors
    (pp. xvii-2)
  6. Introduction: Gender in Transition: Legacies, Opportunities, and Milestones in Post-Soviet Ukraine
    (pp. 3-26)

    The idea for gathering an edited volume on gender in Ukraine originated from our joint research into evolving post-Soviet Ukrainian gender policies and our respective research in the areas of sex trafficking, HIV/AIDs, and sociopolitical transformations in independent Ukraine. Scanning the literature in support of these projects, we came to the realization that in most edited publications on post-Soviet countries, Ukraine remained on the margins or simply absent from the analysis. And in published works on transition to democracy, the impact of this dramatic process on gender relations was ignored. In studies that did attend to questions of gender, the...


    • 1 A Mosaic Model of Gender Democracy in Ukraine
      (pp. 29-53)

      With the results of the 2004 elections, when pro-European forces came to power, Ukraine for the first time openly declared its commitment to follow the European way of development and to seek membership in the European Union (EU). Governmental policy aimed at European integration was confirmed by the Ukraine – EU Action Plan signed in 2005. According to the plan, the state assumed obligations to respect and implement program documents of the United Nations and the European Commission and to promote equality between women and men in social and economic life (Plan dij Ukraina – Evropejsky Sojuz 2005, 10). In...

    • 2 Discourse of Continuity and Change: The Legislative Path to Equality
      (pp. 54-74)

      Ukraineʹs transition from socialism to a market-driven society began in 1991. On 24 August of that year the country was on the cusp of an epiphany – its successful declaration of independence. Sitting in our dining room was Pavlo Movchan, a poet with a history of dissidence in the Soviet Union, and one of a series of our house guests from Ukraine. As we listened in disbelief to this stunning news item on public radio, he suddenly leapt to his feet and exclaimed excitedly: ʹI am an author of that declaration!ʹ

      The actual transitional process had been set in motion...

    • 3 Electoral Reforms and Womenʹs Representation in Ukraine
      (pp. 75-97)

      Despite its significant advances in democratic reforms compared with other former Soviet states (World Audit 2009; Campbell and Pölzlbauer 2010; Freedom House 2010), Ukraine falls short of meeting the criteria for gender equality. In terms of womenʹs political representation, Ukraine demonstrates poor results compared with world averages, ranking 112th in 2009 based on the proportion of women in the Verkhovna Rada (parliament of Ukraine) – worse than, for example, Côte dʹIvoire (108th), and only slightly better than Kuwait (114th). After the 2007 elections, only 8.2 per cent of Ukraineʹs parliamentary deputies were women, while the world average was 18.6 per...

    • 4 Global Campaigns to Combat Violence against Women: Theorizing Their Impact in Post-Communist Ukraine
      (pp. 98-128)

      Since the 1980s – when international womenʹs organizations first placed the issue of gender violence on the agenda of international institutions – states have come under considerable international pressure to adopt the policy recommendations made by transnational campaigns to combat violence against women (Keck and Sikkink 1998). In 1992, gender violence was added to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW; Joachim 1999, 2007). In 1993, the U.N. General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women. In 1995, the need for all states to take action to prevent violence against...


    • 5 Gender, Nation, and Reproduction: Demographic Discourses and Politics in Ukraine after the Orange Revolution
      (pp. 131-151)

      Alarmist discourses about a ʹdemographic crisisʹ are not new in contemporary Ukraine. They have existed since the mid-1960s, when it became obvious that the decline in fertility in the European part of the USSR was not just a temporary response to the difficulties of the postwar era, but a stable tendency. Some pro-natalist political interventions led to a short-term improvement in fertility rates in the second half of the 1980s (Rivkin-Fish 2003). However, in the next decade the economic recession and neo-liberal reforms of the socialist welfare system, which caused economic insecurity and mass impoverishment, led to a dramatic deterioration...

    • 6 (Re)Constructing Ukrainian Womenʹs History: Actors, Authors, and Narratives
      (pp. 152-179)

      Initial historical and ethnographic research on Ukrainian women emerged in the second half of the nineteenth century. At that time, a number of eminent Ukrainian scholars researched womenʹs issues and published a range of original works revealing various aspects of the lives of ordinary Ukrainian women, on topics ranging from premarital sexual relations to womenʹs status under the law.¹ In fact, research on women was one of the most advanced and rapidly growing areas of Ukrainian studies at the turn of the twentieth century. Those writings, however, had their shortcomings. As early as 1929, Kateryna Hrushevska (1900–1943), then a...

    • 7 Gender and Social Worth in Post-Soviet Ukrainian Civil Society
      (pp. 180-203)

      2 February 1999, Kyiv, Ukraine

      Vania is to pick up Svetlana, Vira, and me at the designated meeting place – the trolley-bus stop nearest to Svetlanaʹs apartment.¹ Itʹs 9:30 a.m. We stomp our feet on the frozen snow to ward off numbness and tug our coat collars tighter to stave off the icy wind and blowing snow. Vania finally pulls up in his car. The burgundy Opel, a fairly new sedan, looks promising, but it soon becomes clear that this trip will be a slow one. Every few miles the car dies and Vania gets out to tinker with something...

    • 8 Homeless Men and the Crisis of Masculinity in Contemporary Ukraine
      (pp. 204-222)

      Homeless persons are among the most economically marginalized and culturally stigmatized social groups in post-Soviet societies. The Russian abbreviation,bomzh(bez opredelennogo mesta zhytelstva,literally meaning ʹwithout a permanent place of residenceʹ), is a widely used label for the so-called underclass of unemployed, middle-aged or elderly single men with a lack of social ties, health problems, and alcohol or drug addictions. In post-communist societies the homeless are often portrayed as deviants who spread infectious disease, are involved in criminal or asocial behaviour (digging through garbage, sleeping in the hallways of apartment blocks), and who refuse to work or to receive...


    • 9 Gender Policy and Education in Contemporary Ukraine: Discourses and Controversies
      (pp. 225-252)

      Gender studies aim to deconstruct traditional notions of the normative feminine and the normative masculine in diverse realms – in philosophy, science, art, and everyday practices. Education is an especially salient area for critique since schooling can fix sociocultural clichés in place and reproduce social inequalities. In Ukraine, the role of formal education in gender equality has not been adequately examined. Researchers in the field of post-Soviet studies have looked at the problem of gender and education from diverse methodological perspectives using, for example, essentialist, postmodernist, and broad sociological and pedagogical approaches. In contrast, this chapter is based on a...

    • 10 Gender Analysis of School Textbooks in Ukraine
      (pp. 253-281)

      Formal education should provide opportunities for young people to develop abilities and skills. It should also help to level the social playing field, providing the same possibilities for advancement to children from diverse economic and ethnic backgrounds, as well as to all genders.¹ However, in practice, education often emphasizes and affirms existing social inequalities by reproducing them among students (Giddens 1999, 489). This is true with regard to gender equality. Various aspects of the educational process, both explicit and subtle, from the choice of examples and illustrations in school textbooks, to the formulation of assignments and even the grammar and...

    • 11 Educational Achievement, Social Background, and Occupational Allocations of Young Men and Women in Ukraine
      (pp. 282-300)

      The relationship between gender and inequality in educational and occupational attainment was the focus of much research interest in both Western European and some post-socialist countries throughout the second half of the twentieth century and has remained an important area of study since (see, e.g., Breen and Jonsson 2005; Erikson and Jonsson 1996; Domanski 2006; Ishida et al. 1995; Shavit and Blossfeld 1993; Shavit and Muller 2003). Yet, these issues have not been adequately addressed in Ukraine, where gender-based educational inequalities were not typically the focus of academic investigations during Soviet rule and where, today, significant gaps exist in the...


    • 12 Gender and Health in Ukraine
      (pp. 303-324)

      The collapse of the Soviet Union has had enormous implications for health in Ukraine (Cockerham et al. 2006; Gilmore et al. 2002; McKee 2005). As with all former Soviet states, slow socioeconomic progress coupled with deteriorating social security and health care systems have contributed to high morbidity, lower life expectancy, and growing health inequities within the population. According to the World Bank (2009a), ʹUkrainians are not only dying younger but also have fewer years lived in full health relative to their European counterpartsʹ (p. 11), resulting in what has been referred to as a national health crisis. All citizens, but...

    • 13 Masculinity in Soviet and Post-Soviet Ukraine: Models and Their Implications
      (pp. 325-361)

      Over the past two decades, gender relations have become an issue of growing public and academic interest in many post-Soviet states, including Ukraine. This can be clearly traced in the simultaneous increase in gender studies publications and research and dissertations on gender issues, as well as in the introduction of gender studies courses into university curricula and the establishment of academic and research gender studies centres. At the same time, most of these projects have focused on women and femininities, primarily discussed in relation to patriarchy and gender inequalities. Masculinity, meanwhile, remains on the fringe of academic discussion in Ukraine...

    • 14 Cash and/or Care: Current Discourses and Practices of Fatherhood in Ukraine
      (pp. 362-384)

      It is hard to assess how many men in Soviet times and in the early years of Ukrainian independence had to tramp the grass behind maternity hospitals as part of their rite of passage to fatherhood, but the experience of waiting for the news about the newborn under the hospital windows is believed to have been almost uniform. It was a part of Soviet folklore and continues to feed numerous jokes, caricatures, and comic episodes in various movies and television shows. Indeed, the personnel-and-expecting-mothers-only entry to the maternity hospitals and wards (for the sake of sterility and hygiene), the prevailing...

    • 15 Ukrainian Societal Attitudes towards the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Communities
      (pp. 385-410)

      In this chapter, I explore attitudes towards homosexuality in contemporary Ukrainian society. Taking a sociological approach, I analyse aspects of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities of Ukraine, Ukrainian attitudes towards them, and homophobic public discourses in the country today. This analysis usefully problematizes existing ideas about heteronormativity in understandings of gender issues in general and gender politics particularly.1,2Given that up to now there has been a lack of debate in Ukraine and a paucity of research on LGBT issues in Ukrainian universities and in the Academy of Sciences,³ the chapter makes an important contribution in bringing...

    • 16 Mainstreaming Gender Equality in Ukraine: Tensions, Challenges, and Possibilities
      (pp. 411-439)

      In the context of Ukraineʹs movement towards integration with the European Union (EU), and its efforts to adhere to European norms, gender equality has gained significant political importance. Ukraine was one of the first countries in the world to adopt a constitutional guarantee of gender equality and since then it has signed numerous international documents to affirm the countryʹs commitment to creating institutional mechanisms for promoting its realization (Kisselyova and Trokhym 2007). However, with the exception of a few reports from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and sporadic governmental reports to the United Nations, virtually no attention has been paid to evaluating...

  11. Afterword
    (pp. 440-444)

    Making this volume happen has not been without its challenges. These included determining the appropriate mix of themes and topics, ensuring that the collection would be primarily shaped by Ukrainian scholars living in Ukraine, dealing with issues of translation and language use, and ultimately responding to various opinions regarding the scholarly merits of contributions, especially those that represented less traditional styles of academic writing. In presenting this wide range of accounts, our intention was to support and accept essays on their own terms, paying close attention to ensuring that the editing process would not impose any uniform system of thought...