Gender and Political Finance in Ukrainian Elections: Sources of Income and Patterns of Power

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Members of Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada take an oath. © Igor Golovniov, depositphotos.com

Women around the world face obstacles in running for political office, with access to financing playing a critical role. After the 2019 parliamentary elections in Ukraine, the number of women elected to Parliament increased significantly from 11 percent to over 20 percent. The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), with analytical support from its partner Civic Movement Chesno, conducted research to see what role financing played in relation to gender during these elections, with a particular focus on single-member constituencies. Gender and Political Finance in Ukrainian Elections: Sources of Income and Patterns of Power relays key findings from this research and provides recommendations to further gender equality in relation to political finance in Ukraine.

The paper analyzes similarities and differences between how women and men in Ukraine raised funds for the 2019 parliamentary election campaigns, and the interaction between this and gender equality in Ukrainian electoral politics.

The analysis is based on a series of 15 interviews, including with women and men who ran in the 2019 parliamentary elections for different political parties or as independents, party representatives involved in the candidate selection process, and experts on the Ukrainian political process and gender equality. The authors of this paper have also drawn from Civic Movement Chesno’s analysis of financial statements submitted by candidates after the elections, as well as reviewed the limited existing literature.

The results of IFES’ research show that political finance and gender equality are closely interlinked in Ukraine. Given the complexity of this relationship, various stakeholders need to undertake measures to both enhance transparency and state oversight and create more incentives for women to run in elections.

The paper concludes with a set of recommendations for lawmakers, political finance regulators and political parties that could help level the playing field for men and women candidates. IFES will incorporate findings stemming from the paper into its analysis, awareness-raising and advocacy activities related to legal reform and technical assistance to various institutions, including the Central Election Commission and the National Agency on Corruption Prevention.

Gender and Political Finance in Ukrainian Elections: Sources of Income and Patterns of Power

Authors: Meredith Applegate, Program Advisor, Ukraine; Magnus Ohman, Director, Regional Europe Office, and Senior Political Finance Adviser; Oleksii Sydorchuk, Senior Project Officer, Europe and Eurasia; Yuliia Kryvinchuk, Project Officer, Europe and Eurasia

Published on July 30, 2021.

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