Ukraine is ranked 27 out of 86 countries in the 2012 Social Institutions and Gender Index. The country was ranked 10 out of 102 countries in the 2009 Social Institutions and Gender Index.
The country’s Human Development Index (HDI) score is 0.729, placing it in 76th place out of a total of 187 countries.The Gender Inequality Index is 0.335, placing it in 57th place (out of 146 countries). Ukraine’s 2011 Global Gender Gap Index ranking is 0.6861, placing it in 64th place (out of 135 countries).
The legal minimum age for marriage is 17 years for women and 18 years for men. However, the courts can authorise marriage from the age of 14 years if it can be shown that the marriage is “in the person’s interests.” The incidence of early marriage is quite high for a European country. The 2007 Demographic and Health Survey estimated that 6.6 percent of girls aged 15 to 19 were married or living together, separated, divorced, or widowed. A 2005 United Nations report estimated that 10.5 per cent of women between 20 and 49 years of age were married before age 18. Otherwise the Family Code stipulates that marriage be between consenting adults of age. The code is broadly in line with public sentiment; a 2007 Pew survey found that 77 percent of respondents thought that a woman should choose her own husband.
There is no evidence that polygamy is a common practice in Ukraine.
In Ukraine, parental authority is shared by the mother and father, and parents have equal rights and responsibilities regarding their children’s development and education.
There is no evidence of legal discrimination against women in regard to inheritance.
 Articles 22 and 23 of the Family Code;CEDAW 2008, p. 81.  Ukrainian Center for Social Reforms (UCSR), State Statistical Committee (SSC) [Ukraine], Ministry of Health (MOH) [Ukraine], and Macro International Inc. (2008). Ukraine Demographic and Health Survey 2007, Table 7.1.  United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) (2005), Ukraine Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) 2005, Table CP.5.  Pew Research Center (2007), Global Attitudes Project, Spring 2007 Survey, Q.44.  Articles 51 and 121 of the Family Code; CEDAW 2008, pp. 81-82.
Traditionally, domestic violence in Ukraine is considered a “family matter,” and law enforcement has been disinclined to intervene. In recent years the government has increased its efforts to address the issue. Ukraine strengthened the 2001 Prevention of Domestic Violence Act with a new law in 2009 that allowed police to jail those accused of perpetrating violence. It is also stepping up public information and education campaigns, as well as its counselling services (for both victims and perpetrators). Law enforcement handles tens of thousands of cases annually. The law requires the government to operate shelters for victims of domestic violence in every major city, but in practice, they do not. This is in part due to the lack of municipal funding and insufficient oversight from the Ministry of Family, Youth, and Sports.
According to the 2007 DHS, one in six women reported experiencing domestic violence in their lifetime. According to women's rights groups, only one tenth of domestic violence cases were reported, and approximately 90 percent of domestic violence victims were women. Further, 8 percent of women in Ukraine had experienced violence in the past year. Domestic violence does not receive wide public acceptance. In a 2006 public opinion survey, 72.4 percent of respondents thought that it was never justifiable for a man to beat his wife. The 2007 DHS found that just four percent of women and eleven percent of men thought that wife beating was justifiable for any reason.
Rape is prohibited by the Ukrainian Criminal Code, but the law contains no specific reference to spousal rape. Perpetrators of spousal rape are punished under a law prohibiting “forced sexual relations with a materially dependent person.”
The law on equal rights and opportunities recognises sexual harassment as discrimination, but it does not constitute an effective mechanism to protect women from sexual harassment in the workplace.
Trafficking is a problem in Ukraine. Articles 149 and 303 of the Criminal Code are being amended, with the view to implement the Convention against Transnational Organised Crime. In January 2006 an act was adopted to amend the Criminal Code of Criminal Procedure to establish criminal liability for trafficking in persons, recruitment of persons for prostitution, and living off the earnings of prostitutes. A bill was also drafted on compensation for harm suffered by victims of crimes of violence. Women that are trafficked are used as housekeepers, seamstresses, dishwashers or workers in various manufacturing plants or abroad.
There is no evidence to suggest that female genital mutilation is practised in Ukraine.
Knowledge of contraceptives in Ukraine is nearly universal. Usage rates are lower, with 65.5 percent of women married or in union reporting using contraceptives with their partner. According to the 2007 DHS, usage of modern methods has increased by 34 percent since 1999. Few women in Ukraine hide their use of contraception from their husbands/partners. The government of Ukraine is taking active steps to further increase knowledge and acceptance of contraception via its “Reproductive Health of the Nation for the Period until 2015” program, which supports the purchase of contraceptives to be given at no cost to women who wish to avoid pregnancy or childbirth for health reasons. Virtually all women and men in Ukraine believe that a woman is justified in refusing sex or requesting that the man use a condom if he carries an STD. There are no legal restrictions with regards to abortion in Ukraine.
 Women’s Consortium 2008, pp. 42-43.  State Dept. 2010.  State Dept. 2010.  Ukrainian Center for Social Reforms (UCSR), et al., (2008), Ukraine Demographic and Health Survey 2007, Table 14.1  U.S. State Dept., (2010) 2009 Country Report on Human Rights Practices: Ukraine.  DHS 2008, Table 14.1.  World Values Survey (WVS) (2006), Selected Country/Sample: Ukraine, Question V208.  DHS 2008, Tables 13.6.1 and 13.6.2.  Article 152 of the Criminal Code;Law of Ukraine On Prevention of Domestic Violence (2001); CEDAW 2008, p. 14.  US Department of State (2010a)  CEDAW (2008),  US Department of State (2010a)  MICS 2005, Table RH.1  DHS 2008,Table 5.1. DHS 2008, Table 5.17.  CEDAW 2008, p. 82;DHS 2008, p. 43.  DHS 2008, Tables 13.7.1 and 13.7.2. See also Table 12.6.  UN DESA (2011)
The 2010 female-to-male ratio for primary school enrolment is 1.00 and for secondary school enrolment is 1.01, indicating that there is no preferentialtreatment of sons with respect to access to education. However, in terms of working children, figures from the 2005 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey indicate that out of working children aged 7-14 years, girls spend on average 7.7 hours per week in economic activity when boys spend only 2 hours per week.
The male/female sex ratio for the total population in 2012 is 0.85.
There is no evidence to suggest that Ukraine is a country of concern in relation to missing women.
The Constitution guarantees women’s legal rights to access to land and property other than land. By law, joint property acquired during marriage belongs equally to both spouses.
Presidential Decree No. 1356/2000 initiated the 2001 agrarian reforms, which transformed the country’s collective farms into agricultural businesses. This process included the names of all women entitled to a plot of land as members of individual enterprises.
The Ukrainian legal framework gives women equal access to bank loans, but in practice accessing loans is difficult for both men and women: for example, often the credit offered to women is short-term and at very high interest. Following the 2001 agrarian reform, many women in rural areas established credit unions in order to improve their access to credit through the State Employment Programme of 2001-2004.
The Ukrainian Constitution guarantees both the freedom of speech and expression and since the Orange Revolution the government has refrained from direct political interference with the media. It also guarantees the right to peaceful assembly, as long as organisers give the authorities enough notice of any demonstrations.
Women’s level of political participation in Ukraine is low. Just 36 of 450 parliamentarians, or 8 percent, are women following the 2007 elections. However, women have held many positions of authority in the government in recent years, including Prime Minister, Minister of Labour and Social Policy, Head of the State Treasury, and the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, among others. In addition, 54.8 percent of those polled agreed or agreed strongly with the statement, ‘Men make better political leaders than women do.’ However, a 2007 Pew survey that asked a similar question provided an option to rate men and women equally, and found that while 34 percent still viewed men more favourably, 52 percent rated men and women as equally capable.
Ukraine maintains generous maternity leave policies. Employed women are entitled to 18 weeks of paid maternity leave at full pay, plus up to three years leave at minimum wage for child care at the mother’s request. However the generosity of these benefits also leads to gender-based discriminatory hiring practices, as employers attempt to avoid hiring women of child bearing age to reduce costs. Women in Ukraine do not see work and family as incompatible. Fully 83 percent of women surveyed in 2006 agreed or agreed strongly with the statement, ‘A working mother can establish just as warm and secure a relationship with her children as a mother who does not work.’ Additionally, just 32.5 percent believe that men should be given priority over women in terms of employment when employment is scarce.
 Freedom House (2010)  Inter-Parliamentary Union (2010), Women in Parliament: All Countries on National Parliaments.  State Dept. 2010.  WVS Question V61  Pew 2007, Q.43.  Article 179 of the Labour Code; International Labour Organization (ILO) (2009), Database of Conditions of Work and Employment Laws; Social Security Administration (SSA), International Social Security Association (ISSA) (2008), Social Security Programs Throughout the World: Europe, 2008, p. 321; CEDAW 2009, p. 59.  Women’s Consortium 2008, pp. 35, 39. World Values Survey (WVS) (2006), Selected Country/Sample: Ukraine, Question V60.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine gained its independence in 1991 and has since geared towards reconciliation with Russia and integration with Western Europe. The first few years after the independence were characterised by a period of economic decline and inflation, and the situation improved under President Leonid Kuchma, but discontent and opposition grew among the population as the government was controlling the media and accused of manipulating the political system. In 2004 a mass protest called “Orange Revolution” (in reference to the main opposition movement) forced a re-run of the presidential election, which the authorities had attempted to rig. Viktor Yushchenko won the elections and secured the rule of law and media freedom, but his efforts to move towards NATO and EU membership had mixed results. Despite trade with EU countries exceeds that with Russia, Moscow is still the largest individual trading partner for Ukraine, as it heavily depends on Russia for its gas supplies. The country was particularly vulnerable to the global economic crisis of 2008. Ukraine is classed by the World Bank as a lower middle income country.
The Constitution of Ukraine upholds the principle of equality between men and women and in general terms, the country’s legislation respects the rights of women and guarantees their protection. However, though a law providing for equal opportunities for men and women was passed in 2006, it lacks sufficient force to compel the punishments that it lists as the right of those who suffered gender-based discrimination. Sex role stereotypes also persist concerning the primacy of a woman’s ideal role as wife and mother, which limits women’s ability to rise in the professional world. This effect is exacerbated by the low level of female participation and representation in electoral politics and decision-making bodies: women account for 19 percent of the candidates in the 2006 parliamentary elections.
Ukraine ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1981, and the Optional Protocol on violence against women in 2003.
 BBC News (2011)  CIA (2011)  CIA (2011)  CIA (2011)  CIA (2011)  World Bank (n.d.)  Article 24 of the Constitution of Ukraine; see esp. the Criminal Code, the Labour Code and the Act on the Payment of Wages; Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) (2008), Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women: Ukraine, Combined Sixth and Seventh Reports of States Parties, p. 22; Women’s Consortium of Ukraine (2008), Alternative Report on the Implementation of the UN CEDAW in Ukraine, p. 7.  Articles 23 and 24 of the Law of Ukraine On Ensuring Equal Rights and Opportunities for Women and Men, promulgated 1 Jan. 2006; Women’s Consortium 2008, pp. 9-10.  CEDAW 2008, p. 31; Women’s Consortium 2008, p. 18.  CEDAW 2008, p. 41.  United Nations Treaty Collection (2010n.d)
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