What you think about Ukrainian women if I tell you the words from one of the famous Ukrainian feminist leader “People in the West already think of Ukrainian women as prostitutes”? Curiously, her group is called Femen, which is known all around the world for its “original” topless protest street actions. Let me tell you something: Ukrainian women are tender mothers, loving wives, trustful friends and committed and honest workers. But how many people know this if the simple search in Google for “Ukrainian woman” gives as results: dating, marriage, romance tours for foreigners, scammers, prostitution, etc. Just to compare, search in Google for “European woman” gives these results: chess championship, professional networks, lobbying union. Search for “American woman” – professional, political and medical centers, etc. You also feel the difference?.. And now, after all these adjectives, tell me please what I suppose to feel when I meet foreigners and tell them “Hi, my name is Iryna. I’m from Ukraine”? Besides feeling a little bit confused because all these stereotypes, I feel proud. Proud to be Ukrainian, because I know Ukrainian women are not only beautiful, we are also smart, well educated and very professional in our work. I know it because every day I improve my skills, but, unfortunately, in my life so many times I lived the same as my female friends: situations when our nationality and gender plays against us. The situation within Ukraine sometimes is even worse. Ukrainian society gets in panic when they hear about “feminism”. They imagine some man looking creature who forget about her female essence and fights for some ghosts that not exist. “Nude radicals” – this name Ukrainian fighters for women’s rights deserved because of Femen, the only famous feminist movement in my country. Preparing this article I’ve made a little investigation to find out if really exists in Ukraine such a concept as Feminism. The results were more than interesting: Women in Ukraine believe they no need such movements. They think they have rights and Ukraine is known as matriarchal country with strong wife leader who controls and defends the family and all around. Meanwhile the truth is that in Ukrainian parliament women’s part is still less than 8% (almost the same level as in Muslim countries). Only 6% of Ukrainian women manage business with more than 250 workers. Why? Because we are worse than men? We are not so smart? I don’t believe this. World Bank made an interesting research with amazing conclusions: women’s presence in parliament decrease corruption. How is connected? I have an assumption. Ukraine is a big model of a family, with children and household. It’s woman’s nature to take care about her nest, to feed and protect her family. Women in power will never accept legislation which can hurt children. Nowadays my country moves to Europe Community. At least it wants. I want the same. I want Ukraine develop its economy and life level up to West European countries. I want to participate in this process. But we must to change something on the road: Women must to make their voice be heard. And we need all tools available to do it. Think globally, act locally! This environmental slogan works not only for nature protection. I have my plan to contribute to my country and to other countries which live in the same conditions. First of all: women need to understand that they live under the glass ceiling. Second: they must speak about it. No need to hide, no need to think they are weak and lonely. If one woman begins to speak others support her and their voice becomes stronger. Third, and for me is the most important. I want my daughter grows in the environment where woman is respected, can develop her skills, where the only border is the sky. I’m working to build this country, a better country where all people, regardless of their gender, have voice, a beautiful voice which deserves to be heard. I want to become one of the Voices of Our Future. I want the world follow this amazing story, participate in it, make our voice sound stronger and watch how Ukraine and the whole world changes for better future.
Take action! This post was submitted in response to Voices of Our Future Application: Your Vision.