The highest number of women members of parliament in the history of Ukraine

Women's role and performance in politics has been a heated topic for many years, and was revisited on 26 October 2014 when parliamentary elections took place in Ukraine. Statistics shows that the new Verkhovna Rada has the largest number of women MPs in the history of independent Ukraine. 

There are currently 47 female MPs out of 423 members of this year's Parliament, which makes 11.1% of the total composition. According to the Committee of Voters of Ukraine (CVU) , the Verkhovna Rada of VIII convocation is the most gender balanced in comparison to the Verkhovna Rada of previous convocations. The share of female MPs has increased from as low as 2.3% of women (11 persons) in the Verkhovna Rada of the first convocation to 9.9% (44 persons) in the Verkhovna Rada of VII convocation.However, it is still far from reaching the global average of 22%.
Arguing against majoritarian component of election, the CVU stands for open party-list proportional representation system. Along with the Venice Commission, the experts claim that single mandate component of the election system does not contribute to election of women to the parliament due to various abuses and violations of the law. For example, the overall number of female candidates elected in single mandate districts makes only 1% of women (2 out of 198 MPs) in the parliament in contrary to 20% of women brought by the party lists.
With the role of women in Ukrainian politics coming again under the spotlight in the recent months, the Government should be advised that there is a problem with the issue of gender in the Verkhovna Rada. Despite its current best gender ratio in the Parliaments as compared to previous convocations, Ukraine should increase the number of women MPs to a minimum 30% by 2015, according to the UNDP Millennium Development Goals. Addressing the lack of women MPs, it is recommended to introduce a system of extra measures like gender quotas to achieve higher level of women's representation in the next elections.
Promoting women's political participation in Ukraine was empowered, inspired, and profoundly backed by 20 years of UNDP work in the area of gender equality and domestic violence prevention.
In the wider context of women in parliaments around the world, Ukraine with its 11.1% of women MPs is behind many countries in the world. Thus, we still have a long way ahead to advance gender equality and enhance women's representation and influence in decision-making bodies.