Round Table “Gender stereotypes of Ukrainian society” In Ukrainian society certain positive changes concerning the implementation of equality principles between women and men have been taking place in all sectors of life. However, following a thorough assessment of the development of Ukrainian legislation in line with guaranteeing equal rights and opportunities for women and men, the overall progress in other constituent parts within state gender policy is still estimated rather low in Ukrainian society, according to new research “Gender stereotypes and public attitude to gender problems in Ukrainian society”. Round Table “Gender stereotypes of Ukrainian society” In Ukrainian society certain positive changes concerning the implementation of equality principles between women and men have been taking place in all sectors of life. However, following a thorough assessment of the development of Ukrainian legislation in line with guaranteeing equal rights and opportunities for women and men, the overall progress in other constituent parts within state gender policy is still estimated rather low in Ukrainian society, according to new research “Gender stereotypes and public attitude to gender problems in Ukrainian society”.

Round table “Gender stereotypes of Ukrainian society”The survey's results were presented today at a round table meeting "Gender stereotypes of Ukrainian society" by experts of the Centre for Social Expertises of the Institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Ministry of Ukraine for Family, Youth and Sport in cooperation with United National Development Programme in Ukraine.

According to the authors of the publication, prepared on the basis of the poll's findings, the respondents gave the lowest assessment marks when asked whether equal rights and opportunities for women and men were properly guaranteed in Ukraine in the areas concerning development of legal defence against gender discrimination through legal cases and filing claims to authorized representatives; development of budget financing, scope of public information and outreach activities with population.

The survey's results are based on polling of experts and wider public representatives, analysing the contents of materials in printed media through a gender dimension and monitoring corresponding data collected by the Institute of Sociology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (including the poll results gathered in 2002 - 2006).

The assignment was performed on request of the UNDP in Ukraine in October 2006 by the Centre for Social Expertise of the Institute of Sociology of the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. The survey was meant to look into institutional changes that recently took place in Ukraine at the policy level of guaranteeing gender equality. Its authors aimed at finding out whether the current situation meets today's demands in the sector of gender relations in Ukraine. The main aim of the research has been to define gender stereotypes and public attitudes to gender issues within Ukrainian society, as well as to recognise positive gender-related changes that took place in Ukrainian society during the past five years (over 2002 - 2006).

The conducted research indicated that gender equality well remains an acute issue for Ukrainian society. At the same time, the survey demonstrated that both women and men become increasingly better aware of this issue. The role of a woman remains largely underestimated in social, political and public life. Surprisingly, similar estimations are typical even among experts in gender issues. And if the principle of gender equality is comparatively better adhered to in the sector of education and science, the situation is much worse in family and domestic affairs sector, where, as earlier, the issues of gender parity were never resolved in favour of women.

Speaking at the meeting, the Deputy Minister of Ukraine for Family, Youth and Sport Ms.Ludmyla Lukinova said that "stereotypes of public perception create a very powerful barrier in achieving gender equality in our society".

"The specific of the stereotypes is such that they are so deeply rooted in the consciousness which makes them hard to not only to overcome, but to realize as well. We have to break the stereotypes inside ourselves and to look ahead with modern vision, to change our world outlook and to influence the perception of the heads of state, parliamentarians, people who surround us", the Deputy Minister said.

Among others, the meeting attracted Government officials, representatives of UNDP Ukraine, NGOs, mass media, experts and scientists.

UNDP's Senior Programme Manager Petro Pavlychenko said that achieving gender equality is one of the 6 Millennium Development Goals Ukraine adopted a couple of years ago. "They constitute certain development indicators which are stipulated in the UN Millennium Declaration and adapted reflecting the special needs of Ukraine's national development. UNDP acts as a coordinating agency in achieving Millennium Development Goals and is a global development network that links and coordinates international and national efforts to reach these Goals which 189 countries of the world, including Ukraine, have pledged to achieve," he added.

In the opinion of the participants, current cultural demands towards women and men, which are widespread in Ukrainian society, are able to maintain as well as to compete with the legal norms, including norms of gender equality.

The discussion of all these problems by the round table participants revealed to what extent the citizens of Ukraine are aware of gender-related issues and whether they are willing to accept or reject the standards of gender equality, which are the integral part of social standards in European countries.