Monday, September 01, 2014


Transmission

Honoring Women, Ukrainian Government-Style

Sticking together? Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn, President Viktor Yanukovych, and Prime Minister Mykola Azarov (left to right, in a file photo)Sticking together? Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn, President Viktor Yanukovych, and Prime Minister Mykola Azarov (left to right, in a file photo)
x
Sticking together? Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn, President Viktor Yanukovych, and Prime Minister Mykola Azarov (left to right, in a file photo)
Sticking together? Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn, President Viktor Yanukovych, and Prime Minister Mykola Azarov (left to right, in a file photo)
Earlier this month, the speaker of the Ukrainian parliament became the latest male of the species to join the country's Male Chauvinist Neanderthal Club (no offense intended to our extinct relatives), which, some would argue, already has the country's president and prime minister as proud members. Commenting on proposed legislation establishing quotas for women in government, Volydymyr Lytvyn said such issues could not be decided with laws. "Society will not abide by such laws until we get rid of that which is our tradition and stems from our Christian mentality: Man is the higher being, as woman was made from Adam's rib. Consequently, she is the lesser being" affirmed the speaker.

Last year, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych made his position on women clear during his unfortunate presentation at Davos. Yanukovych invited tourists and others to discover Ukraine for themselves. "All you need is to see it when the weather gets warm and Ukrainian women begin taking their clothes off," promised Ukraine's commander in chief. "What a beautiful sight."

To round off the branch of government approach to women's place in Ukrainian society, one can turn to none other than Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, the oldest of the trio, who until very recently had no women in his cabinet. (Now he has one, but seemingly not through any effort on his part.) When asked why there were no women ministers in government, he replied: "Some say our government is large. Others complain there are no women; there's no one to look at during our meetings, only dull people. With all due respect to women, implementing reforms is not women's work."

These three men are using March 8, International Women's Day, to bamboozle Ukraine's overworked and underpaid women with lofty but essentially empty words about women's role in society, their value and worth, their beauty and kindness.

The Ukrainian president received a group of women community leaders on March 7 and said women should have "women's happiness" in their lives, because for him, a woman is first and foremost a mother.

In a 39-second video greeting posted on his website, the prime minister -- framed by a vase of pink tulips and with a pained expression on his face -- droned on about March 8 being that day when women could hear "all those warm words which we often don't tell you during other days."

"May your families have prosperity, may your children grow up healthy, may you have love and happiness," he said.

The beleaguered speaker, who claims his words about Adam's rib were taken out of context, has posted a greeting on his site that is one of the finest examples of Soviet pompous polysyllabic profundity. "On this holiday and every day, there should [be] more light, goodness and warmth, attention, and respect to Woman, mother, sister, beloved wife, the keeper of the hearth and citizen on our Motherland. This is the task of the state and the ruling powers, the permanent and honorable duty of the stronger sex."

All one can do in the face of all this is to paraphrase Barney Frank, the exceedingly witty but often testy U.S. congressman from Massachusetts: "On what planet do these men spend most of their time?"

On Planet Ukraine, a country that in many ways seems to be the place that time forgot. It is old fashioned, male-oriented, tribal, and much in need of modernity. Not only in terms of concrete infrastructure, but first and foremost in the heads of its politicians.

Women in Ukraine are architects, factory managers, and high-level bureaucrats and are represented in almost every profession in the workforce. Despite this male chauvinism is firmly entrenched and surprisingly widespread. Some Ukrainian men will never take a woman leader seriously. The younger generation, however, seem more willing to accept women in positions of power.

That's the country advice provided on the international moving company Interdean's website.

Ukraine has no women mayors, no women governors, only one newly minted minister, just two parliamentary committees are chaired by women. The country's best known female politician Yulia Tymoshenko is behind bars. But Ukrainian men looooooooooove women, the hearth keepers, the mothers, the long-legged arm-candy blondes.

Yes, hooray for International Women's Day, that much-loved Soviet Ukrainian holiday, during which fat, jowly, perpetually hungover men present their women folk with flowers and ply them with champagne, only to treat them like second-class citizens for the other 364 days of the year.

-- Irena Chalupa
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: lenithsih from: Dallas
March 08, 2012 15:57
I'm pro-women, but he wasn't incorrect in saying what he did about Christianity and the lower place reserved for women within it. The Bible IS sexist, and this is something we have to get used to; anyone who's ever done a thorough reading of it has read verse after verse which place women in a disadvantaged position.
In Response

by: ASPG from: USA
March 31, 2012 14:29
The Bible has been edited too much by misogynistic minds that have put their own crap into it... and the Bible is not the only holy text that has been perverted in this fashion... God make man and woman equal, albeit biologically different...but equal in worth, equal in value... man is not spiritually "higher" to a woman by default... just take a look at some men's actions to see if there is any spirituality at all in them... if anything, those who are more patient, more kind, more forgiving are spiritually "higher,"... and those tend to be women, although not always

by: a mom from: US
March 08, 2012 17:36
AMEN !!! Spent 2 months in Ukraine adopting teenage boys. Male translator treated me like crap after husband returned to US for work. It was amazing to see that this kind of thinking held so true there. The things the boys spouted! Never have grown out of it. A judge took a personal call on his cell during proceedings. (He was THAT important.) Almost all the men we met (two exceptions) had reached maturity and stopped around a teenage boy level. The women did all the work. My boys didn't want to learn to do their own laundry or help with dishes, because that was "women's work!" Guess who did the dishes in the house after that. (-:

by: Dariya from: Winnipeg
March 08, 2012 19:26
Thank you, Irena. So true!

by: bitterzen from: NJ
March 08, 2012 19:56
I guess Gloria Steinem could not have said it better Ms. Chalupa. Those Uke bones heads in charge give American Sexists a bad name.

by: S from: Canada
March 08, 2012 20:05
This makes me so sad. What a mess.

by: LG from: US
March 08, 2012 21:42
Irena, another tool of the Western propaganda arm. If Kiev were the pet of the West like some of the other Eastern European nations, we wouldn't be reading one sided articles from the CIA funded rfe/rl

by: Roman from: Germany
March 09, 2012 00:53
there citation to the source is missing in this article, and, when i finally found the original I saw that unfortunately translation made by Irena Chalupa is not correct (in my personal opinion) and taken as a set of pieces without holding the main idea mentioned by the speaker. If anyone disagree with my comment, please, kindly provide the link to his interview to the TV Channel "Rada"

by: Melodia from: Germany
March 14, 2012 12:02
Dear LG from the US (US???), I have absolutely nothing to do with RFE/RL, and know that Ms. Chalupa is absolutely correct. I was married to a Ukrainian, so know first hand!!!
In Response

by: Mitrich from: Kyiv
March 16, 2012 14:40
Do you really know? Indeed? Is your husband fat? Is he jowly and perpetually hungover? My condolences to you. By the way, would it be polite and absolutely correct, if I say: German women are ugly, ill-tempered and their asses are the biggest in Europe?
And Chalupa in any case is chalupa, that means in Ukrainian "miserable and neglected hut".
In Response

by: Meldia from: Taufkirchen
March 17, 2012 09:36
Hi Mitrich from Kyiv. My EX-husband is not fat, jowly, but was perpetually hungover. Oh, by the way, I'm not German... ;-)
In Response

by: Mitrich from: Kyiv
March 21, 2012 23:59
Melodia, the dearest friend of mine, I'm sure you understand me pretty well. That is not the question are you German or not, Ukrainan or not, Bushman or not, but the question is would it be ABSOLUTELY CORRECT to say that ALL German (Ukrainian, Bushmen) men or women are ugly, fat, jowly, ill-tempered and so on? My answer is: it's ABSOLUTELY UNCORRECT!
Russians have a wise proverb: a spoon of tar spoils a barrel of honey. Something like that we have in our case: Ms. Chalupa is right in nine tenth of her statements, but one tenth spoils everything. Because she is a female pig chovinist.
And my dear, your Ukrainian EX-husband being perpetually hungover proves nothing about Ukrainian men. This fact only proves that you did a bad choice. Sorry!
Look at these photos (which I took at random) of a last year folk festival in Kyiv :
http://konneti.livejournal.com/9153.html#cutid1
Do you find a lot of fat and jowly men? Haw many of them are drunken at your opinion?

About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

Most Popular