The election process started on September 5, and the process of nomination of candidates for local council members as well as of candidates for village, settlement and town/city mayors will last from September 15 to September 24 (included).
The Election Code contains a requirement for parties to ensure alternation in the list of candidates, namely there should be minimum two male or female candidates among every five individuals included in the list. In this way, the gender quota totals 40%.
The aforementioned norm is applied during elections in communities with a number of voters totaling 10, 000 and more as well as during elections of members of oblast councils, raion and city district councils.
Since the Election Code does not envisage a possibility for self-nomination at such elections, the role of parties in ensuring representation of women and men during elections increases.
During elections of members of village, settlement or town councils in small towns with the population under 10, 000 inhabitants, parties have to ensure representation of minimum 30% individuals of each gender in their election lists.
Women account for 54% of the population of Ukraine, but they are underrepresented in local self-government bodies and have a limited impact on making decisions important for the communities.
More specifically, at present only 15.3% members of oblast councils are women, which is 259 out of overall 1, 689 council members. The lowest representation of women can be seen among the members of Zhytomyr, Odesa, and Ternopil oblast councils – under 10%. No oblast council has representation of women reaching 25%.
19.7% members of city councils of Kyiv, oblast centers, the towns of Kramatorsk and Sievierodonetsk are women, which is 244 female members out of overall 1, 237 council members. The lowest representation of women can be seen in the city councils of Uzhgorod (8.3%), Cherkasy and Ivano-Frankivsk (9.5% each).
Application of the gender quota has to encourage parties to compile the lists in a more democratic way so that male and female members of local councils could really represent interests of the local community.
An increased amount of the election deposit is an unfavorable factor for women’s participation in local elections. The size of deposit set by the Central Election Commission taking into consideration provisions of the Election Code is higher compared to 2015 – on average 4.4. times for oblast councils, and 4.5 times for town councils and for candidates for city mayors in oblast centers. With regard to oblast councils, the highest increase of election deposit can be seen in Kyiv oblast – 4.6 times higher from 70, 446 UAH to 325, 931 UAH. In Volyn, Lviv and Rivne oblasts, the deposit was increased 4.5 times.
With regard to registration of the lists of candidates for elections of town council members and candidates for town mayors, the largest increase of deposit is reported for Ivano-Frankivsk (5.1 times), Khmelnytskyi and Lutsk (5 times), and for Vinnytsia (4.8 times).
At the same time, according to the official statistics alone, an average salary received by women in 2019 was 23% lower. A significant increase of the amount of election deposit will have a disproportionate impact on the possibilities for women and men to participate in local elections.
The Ukrainian Women’s Fund draws special attention to the actual opportunities for equal participation of women and men in elections and ultimately in making decisions relevant for local communities.
Parties play the key role in achieving a more balanced representation of women in the election process and in politics. Gender monitoring will lay the foundation for a dialog with political parties about positive action aimed at achieving gender equality.