In Ukraine, more and more women are holding major posts in the authorities, achieving leadership in business and successfully representing our country in the international arena.
How the Ukrainians succeed in doing that, what changes our country needs, why the stability of the state is impossible without high-level medicine, how to improve our position in the world, Viktoriia Lisnycha, the President of the International Diplomatic Council in Ukraine, is telling the “Fashion of Diplomacy”.
– Have you ever seen our guys competing in Invictus Games in Sydney? I used to cry while watching their workouts. And now these are the tears of joy for our heroes. When I am looking at them, I understand – one should not stop even for a moment. The mothers of the children from the artistic action “Doomed to Be Happy” are equally impressive. The same will, as they have, is still present among our defenders in the East.
Having such people, we have no other options but to change the country for the better. Medicine, education, economics, the army are our pillars of development,” says Viktoriia.
You are the President of the International Diplomatic Council. What does this organization do?
– Our activities are closely connected to the promotion of a positive image of Ukraine in Europe and in the world.
The council includes diplomats and artists, and people from the public sector. We need a new strategy, a new vision of Ukraine’s relations with the world. The world loves Ukraine. We are perceived. But we have to go forward, develop and improve our position. We have to cultivate relations with the countries that are friendly to us. There are people around us who are ready to cooperate. These are diplomats, government officials, and business. And as a result, we are strengthening the position of our state in the international arena and the country receives investments. We started with the little steps.
Today we are a powerful organization. We care not only for the development of diplomacy, but also for social projects.
Which of the projects impressed you most of all?
– Charity is always a calling from the heart.
My grandmother taught me since my childhood – I have to help people. Recently, we participated in an incredible project – this is a social-artistic action “Doomed to Be Happy”. This is a one-day event, which was held at the Ukrainian House on October 10. Children and young people with specific mental and physical development from all over Ukraine came to Kyiv. They presented their theatrical performance “Beyond the Limits”. I had not seen so much joy for a long time. Everybody was happy – the children, their parents, and all spectators. They are real actors. Very talented. At the show, I realized even more – we have to live to do good. We wake up every day and live colourless life. We do not rejoice and are not surprised by the beauty of the world. We live in masks. A man has to live his life and they will get what they are worth. This year the action was supported by the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation. The wife of the President of Ukraine, the Head of the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation, Mrs. Maryna Poroshenko, was with us at the performance. I can note that Mrs. Poroshenko is an example of humanity, goodness and positive.
The health care reform is not as successful as we would like it to be. How can we accelerate it?
– Being ongoing is already a process. More than 10 million Ukrainians signed declarations with the family doctors. And this is good.
Everything will happen faster if the funding of the sector is improved. Where to take funds in addition to the state budget? The answer to this is insurance medicine. Look at the experience of economically powerful countries that we are taking cue from. People have to go to the hospital and understand – all is paid for them. They do not need to run for medication. And physicians should receive wages instead of looking for money for maintaining a family, children’s education. Both patients and doctors are worthy of the best. Let’s take the European Union countries as an example.
Employees often choose an employer, depending on the size of the insurance. It also covers the treatment of family members of the worker.
Average life expectancy in Europe is over 80 years. There are systems of insurance funds. In France, these funds work as private companies.
But their work is controlled by the government.
The right to have state medical care and insurance is guaranteed to every citizen. Insurance is mandatory.
In Austria, medicine consists of two levels.
At the first one everyone is provided with free medical care. To get a profile treatment – you have to pay or take advantage of the insurance.
In Switzerland, health insurance is compulsory for over 20 years. Women live on average almost 86 years there, men – over 80.
And the money for the salvation of children or prostheses for the military is not searched for in social networks.
– Exactly. Nowadays the whole country collects the money bit by bit for bone marrow transplantation for the kids every time.
Operations cost dozens of thousands euros. Yes, and they do not do them in Ukraine. Insurance medicine will give impetus to qualitative changes in medicine. And before that, it is necessary to establish cooperation between the responsible departments – the Ministry of Health Care and the profile committee in the Verkhovna Rada.
Having a consensus between them, we will have even more efficiency. The committee is made up of real professionals, the men of execution. In particular, people’s deputies Kostiantyn Yarynich, Iryna Sysoienko, Serhii Berezenko. These are them who can form the backbone of a team that will be able to give a new impetus to the reform.
The system has entrenched during these years and it is very difficult to change it. Are you and your team ready to join and assist them if necessary?
– It is easy to talk. And I am used to be result oriented, not criticizing someone’s achievements or failures, not talking a lot. One can tell everything you want. But try to do that. I am used to achieving the best results. And it is like in the army here – when the country needs us, we have to leave everything and go fighting. I took such challenges when I worked as the Head of Health Care Department of the Shevchenko district in Kyiv. The medical indicators in the district were the last in the capital then. We were working overtime. And we managed to bring our hospitals and medical facilities to the second place from the 11th in a few months according to all indicators. I am not afraid of work.
Women stopped being afraid to take responsibility for governments, parliaments and countries at all. You are one of those women. Is it difficult to compete with men?
– We do not have to compete for anything with men. To succeed in any business, we need their support. We have a different question here, we, women, have another mission. The role of a woman in Ukraine today can become strategic, significant. A woman is first and foremost a mother, a guardian. She carries beauty, cares for the future – gives birth to children and does not live for the now. We have our own relation to life, to society. Therefore, in the parliament, women have a different approach to lawmaking. As an example, Iryna Gerashchenko, Iryna Lutsenko, Anna Hopko, Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze. In business, we, women, pay attention to the social component. In diplomacy, we find a common language where no one has ever agreed. Women have a special strength. Please, note: at the summits where the world leaders, the presidents of the most powerful countries get together, their wives, the first ladies, meet separately. And if the presidents do not always get the desirable after the negotiations, the first ladies hold exceptionally successful meetings. Each time our first lady Marina Poroshenko meets the wives of the presidents and prime ministers. And Ukraine receives the necessary assistance for children from the combat zone, orphans, children with mental and physical defects. Our wounded soldiers get assistance. This is the delicate female diplomacy working.
“You can be the Minister today, and tomorrow – just a simple man. But if you are a personality, and you have done a lot for the country, you will be respected. And if you did not do anything, lost the opportunities for the state – you will be persecuted. Whatever you are – the president, prime minister, minister – life does not end with a post. If you are responsible for your words, then you move to the future with your people. And if you only care for yourself, nothing will get done.”
In one of the interviews you said that you are planning to open the School of Diplomacy for Women. What is this project about and how did the idea of its creation appear?
– I often communicate with our western partners and colleagues from the east – ambassadors, diplomats, and government officials. In Turkey, out of 255 diplomatic missions, 51 are headed by women. And I involuntarily caught myself thinking that there are much fewer women in Ukrainian diplomacy. Imagine, we have only four women being the ambassadors in foreign countries. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs employs only 38 women. And it is very good that there is a woman among the deputies of the minister – Olena Zerkal. But this is not enough. The womendiplomats are talking about it themselves. I see it during our round tables. Therefore, the School of Diplomacy is to exist. Those who want to change the country will be able to study there. Given the diplomats have to put the interests of the country above their own lives.
Similar projects for supporting women in business or are also funded by governments from other countries. How real is it for us?
– There is indeed a trend in the world. But we are not lagging behind. Natalia Mykolska, who worked as the Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine and was the Trade Representative of Ukraine, initiated the She Exports project for women entrepreneurs.
This is the program which is supported by the government itself. Its goal is to promote Ukrainian exports abroad. This concerns the enterprises that are headed by women. Thus, Ukraine can raise its economic performance. As McKinsey’s research has shown, by 2025, global GDP can be increased up to $ 28 trillion if the countries of the world fully exploit the potential of women in the economy.
Therefore, we need our own projects to help and support women in diplomacy. I believe that this will start the revival of Ukraine. You need to take the first steps. Remember Yaroslav the Wise.
What is the main challenge facing Ukraine now?
Do not give up. We have something to fight for. Ukraine now has the greatest potential. In such a difficult time, we have tremendous opportunities for development. Having very difficult times one can quickly whip up. With a +3% GDP we can reach 9% and so on. Everyone should work to gain this result.
How can we defeat Russia?
– The way to victory is the only one – diplomatic.
The destiny of the world is being solved in Ukraine nowadays. If we fail – the whole world will lose. This should be said in all the stands, at all round tables, at each meeting.
There is a feeling that because of one reckless step our state will lose time and opportunities. How to avoid this?
– It is necessary to have patriots in leading positions. Ukraine is only one for us – we have to work for its sake. The world’s leading economies have undergone the same stages. True, they had a peaceful time. The neighbour did not tear their territory. I always give Israel as an example. In this country, the war goes on for decades. They learned to defend themselves. A powerful army and economy were built. Their medicine is one of the best in the world. Women did a lot there too.
In particular, Golda Meir is a national heroine. She was the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
We have someone to follow the example of.
But one will not get too far with the theory. We have a car and the license – we have to go.
Ukraine for a quarter of a century is a country…
– Independent and sovereign. Planes fly and trains go to Simferopol and Donetsk from Kyiv and Lviv. Children go to Ukrainian schools. The fields in the Donbass are mine-free. Our guys are at home. And everyone is healthy.