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"Male-dominated field": are there really few women political scientists in Ukraine?

Photo: StockSnap/Pixabay

Photo: StockSnap/Pixabay

According to the site Kudapostupat (website for the applicants), the most in-demand professions for women are the professions from the IT sector, medicine, psychology, trade, recruiting, stylistics and the like. The profession of a flight hostess is highlighted in a separate line: if with flight hostesses everything is OK and "all systems performing well", this, however, cannot be said about political scientists. Or, more precisely, about women political scientists.

Political science remains a male-dominated field, and very desirable for many, especially young people, who, however, imagine it in a rather simplified way. As if political scientists earn tens of thousands of dollars—of course, if conducting a successful election campaign and being "in contact" with the right people. And who does not see themselves as effective, dashing and successful, especially at the age of 20-30+? However, on the site work.ua that has been specially examined by The Page, there are offers for political scientists with a reward of 12,000 UAH. With such a starting capital wealth is a long way off, you must agree.

However, this is not about money. The point is that there are very few women among political scientists in Ukraine. There are even specific figures: for example, last year's rating of political experts, presented on the Ratings.Comments.UA platform, contained only five female names out of 50 included names. That is, for every nine men in this profession, there is only one woman.

Why is that so? Don’t women want easy money in American currency? Or are women hardnosed and more practical and are well aware that nothing comes easy in life? The Page talked to experts and formed four versions of why only one gender prevails among political scientists.

Version one, "invisible"

First, there are women political scientists, and there are many of them. They are just not being looked for in the right place. Yulia Tishchenko, Chairwoman of the Board of the Ukrainian Independent Center for Political Research, told The Page about this. Julia does not consider herself a political scientist, emphasizing that she had graduated with a Diploma in Philosophy. But Yulia Tyshchenko is traditionally titled as a "political expert".

«I don’t agree that there are few women political scientists. There are women political scientists, they are often more brilliant and educated than those whose names are on everyone’s lips. But they are not known, they are not promoted. Therefore, they are less involved in working with specific projects. Our world has been, and continues to be, largely male-dominated. But there are women political scientists, they work, for example, as teachers in universities or in government organizations. That is, where it is about policy-making, there are women. But in a public segment — there are men. Women simply do not have enough media, PR constituent».

Yulia Tyshchenko

Yulia Tyshchenko

Political expert

Tyshchenko notes once again: the ratings of political scientists, that their participants are so proud of and that they willingly reprint on their Facebook pages, are, first of all, the ratings of citations in the media. That is, these are not indicators of real efficiency, productivity, "this is not a competition for those who wrote an interesting book or developed an important special course," she says. Such measurements are only "the frequency of appearance in the media, and it may be attributed to many factors."

Version two, "traveling"

Quote"Please, do not confuse the two professions," political expert Kyrylo Sazonov comments for The Page, "a political scientist and political strategist."

«Why don't women try to master the profession? Because a political scientist is not someone who sits in a warm, cozy office and generates smart thoughts. This is someone who travels around the country, has frequent business trips, meetings with people, constant TV broadcasts, press conferences, and roundtable discussions. This is the one who rarely sees the family. And in principle, apart from a good salary, they see nothing good in life at all.»

Kyrylo Sazonov

Kyrylo Sazonov

political scientist

And for a woman, in his opinion, apart from a good salary, a good family is also important. And the presence of a woman in it. Therefore, constant "travelling" even within the city, jumping from one event to another is not suitable for every feminine.

By the way, this approach is also discriminatory and stereotypical, because it presupposes, by default, the opinion that, to a greater extent, family concerns remain the responsibility of a woman even in the 21st century, and it suits her to think about it.

In addition, says Sazonov, the whole point is in education here. When "today's whales of political science, who are now over 50, received specialized education, gender stereotypes were very strong in our society. At that time politics was not considered a woman's business."

Version three, "sequential"

By the way, about politics. A representative of the profession Bohdan Petrenko looks at the cause of the lack of women in political science from the other side.

"First, women need to go into politics, see how dirty it is, and with this understanding to become political scientists."

Bohdan Petrenko

Bohdan Petrenko

Political analyst

However, not all current male political scientists were MPs or something like that in the past. They mastered the profession not through Hrushevsky Street, but through their native universities that prepared them as certified specialists.

It should be understood here that the approach "let the women see how dirty it is first" provides that women, unlike men, are not able to analyze information about the profession in advance. Although in fact, many people understand its nuances after the start of real practice, and this, obviously, is not related to gender, but to the experience gained.

Although even then—at the stage of training—there were fewer girls than boys, Petrenko recalls.

Quote"The ratio between male and female students during my political science lectures was 16:10," he says.

In order to change the situation for the better, one should not hurry—it is worth letting them go "in a natural way", the expert is convinced. He believes that gender quotas are not needed because they don't work anyway.

"We have less than 30% of women in parliament," recalls Petrenko. And indeed it is.

According to the resource Slovo i Dilo, the Ukrainian parliament is still far from gender balance, but the trend is encouraging. If in the first convocation there were only 2.5% of women (12 out of 475 deputies), then in the current convocation there are 20.6% (87 out of 423 people's deputies).

At the same time, in the second convocation of the Verkhovna Rada, women accounted for 4.1% of the total composition (18 out of 436 deputies), in the third—8% (38 out of 477), in the fourth—5.5% (28 out of 509), in the fifth—8.7% (42 out of 483), in the sixth—7.8% (42 out of 541), in the seventh—9.6% (46 out of 478), in the eighth—12% (56 out of 468).

But for the first time in the leadership of the parliament, women appeared only in the eighth convocation. First, Oksana Syroid took up the post of Deputy Speaker, then Iryna Herashchenko became the First Deputy Speaker. In the current convocation of the Rada, the only woman on the presidium is Deputy Speaker Olena Kondratiuk.

As for the party organization, the new Electoral Code prescribes gender quotas at the level of 40%: among every five candidates in the electoral list there must be both men and women. And although this figure is still a long way off, there are already positive changes for the better. "The processes are already underway, the world is changing," says Bohdan Petrenko.

Version four, patriarchal

It is changing, but not entirely, the psychologist and member of the Ukrainian Union of Psychologists and Psychotherapists Anastasiia Bohuslavska disagrees. Anastasiia tells The Page how amazed she was that a retired woman living next to her called her late husband "master".

Quote"This meant that he was the owner of this woman, used her. This was considered normal for rural women born in the 40s and 50s," she says.

«The attitude towards men as those who need to be protected, to please them is inherited from our grandmothers and great-grandmothers who survived the loss of a breadwinner and protector during World War II or even earlier—during dispossession of kulaks, Holodomor, forced relocations. "So that there be any, but still a man" is a saying of the post-war period, when men were simply not enough for all adult women ready for marriage and relationships.»

Anastasiia Bohuslavska

Anastasiia Bohuslavska

Psychologist and member Ukrainian Union of Psychologists and Psychotherapists

This attitude is ingrained in the "blood, flesh and consciousness" of Ukrainian women, emphasizes Bohuslavska. Therefore, they are more likely to give up their own PR and self-presentation (as Yuliia Tyshchenko says about this), and even will stay at home—to entertain the children and carry their families on their shoulders, while the men, not burdened with household duties, will run around to take part in air of some TV program and go to business trips (that are recalled by Kyrylo Sazonov).

«The idea of the woman's purpose that is customary for our society—to be an auxiliary link, to support her husband. She can be the one who resolves conflicts due to reconciliation, the one who softens, does not conflict, does not fight, gives in, finds something to cook from, howto entertain. Ideally, she should earn money in order not to be an albatross around her husband's neck, to make personal growth (to be interesting to her husband), to look good.»

Anastasiia Bohuslavska

Anastasiia Bohuslavska

Psychologist and member Ukrainian Union of Psychologists and Psychotherapists

In addition, she adds, a woman who wants to reach the heights in our society will have to withstand the blows of both competitors and colleagues, constantly proving that she is:

Quote"Not stupid, does not have an influential lover, that she can be ruthless, that her decisions are not affected by hormones, she has strategic thinking, that she can control people and even—just imagine!—even men."

Instead of conclusions

This is really hard to imagine (just an irony!), but we will have to. If only Ukraine wants to improve its performance in the world. Because now our state occupies 59th place (out of 153) in the ranking of gender equality, and in the field of political opportunities for women—83rd place.

And the point, of course, is not in the specific profession of a political scientist or political strategist (here is the question whether we need them at all in their current quantity). The point here is that the Constitution of Ukraine guarantees equal rights for men and women, and if certain sections of our Basic Law require editing, then this one is definitely not.

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