On the role of a woman in Ukrainian politics. Iryna Sysoyenko


– When did you realize you would become an active public figure? And how did you come into politics?

I already liked “Law” subject at school, I admired it, I participated in Olympiads. In high school at Olympiads I received the first places, so I was enrolled in the Law Faculty at one of universities almost without exams. Therefore, the question of profession choice did not arise acutely. But as I dreamed of becoming a doctor in early childhood, even in my law practice I was not aloof problems of health care. Back in 2013 I became a co-founder of the “Charitable Fund of Medical Workers’ Rights Protection.” My vigorous activity and experience led me to the body of legislative power – the Parliamentary Committee on Health Care. So right now I have to be most effective.

– To date, have you achieved and managed a lot? How do you manage it all?

My main motto: to work a lot, set high goals, each time raising a lath for myself. And then do everything possible to achieve the objectives and implement plans: self-improvement, self-development. One should not be satisfied with what has already been achieved. One should always move forward.

– Do you manage to withstand and preserve firmness in making decisions? How is it in general to be a woman politician?

I do not think that a woman should take the place of a man, but I am confident that women can help change the world for the better. There are more women in the population of our country, so we have every right to influence political decisions.

In Ukraine, it is harder for women to get to power, and because of social stereotypes and because of family commitments, which leave less time for public activity, it’s hard to be on one side a daughter, a wife, a mother, and on the other – a public figure, a politician. But it is absolutely possible. And now a woman-politician, a woman-leader – a new trend of contemporary world politics. Among European countries, Ukraine has one of the lowest levels of women’s representation in the halls of power. There are 50 women in the current Parliament, it is just 11.85% of the total amount. This is the largest number of women among all previous convocations of Parliament. I believe that this number should grow. But despite this positive trend, anyway we note that women as the biggest social group are not yet the subject of powerful influence on the content of the policy in Ukraine. The average rate of women’s representation in national parliaments in European countries (members of OSCE) is 26.4%; in Scandinavian countries – 41.7%, and in the world in general – 23.3%.

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Our country has a sufficient number of women, successful, professional. The law on quotas, which is adopted, is a European approach. However, in the EU quota system is often “silent”: parties on their own initiative take women to their ranks. If all our political forces follow the principle of quota system – Ukrainian political map will change radically. And he introduction of quotas for women is one of the few progressive norms in the law on local elections. Parity in politics is the key to raising living standards because only it allows to represent the interests and consider the needs of all citizens both men and women.

Women are an important political resource, and their involvement in politics can make modern management more efficient through the combination of different experiences in decision-making and representation of community interests. Quite often it is a woman who is the best leader, other officials cooperate with her easier, subordinates are not afraid of her. If there are more women in the halls of power – in local councils and in Parliament, I believe that the deputies will be able to negotiate more easily and thus reduce the level of parliamentary aggression, because women prefer peaceful politics.

Ukrainian politics will become more peaceful, professional and socially oriented if women receive more than 30% of the seats in local councils, and later in Parliament. Over the years of work in the Parliament, I started using men’s methods. But although this is extremely difficult, it is important to maintain a balance between the roles of “politician” and “woman”. Therefore, in the parliamentary work I am trying to use women’s tools. Men-politicians are sensitive to problems related to the social sphere, healthcare, children. And when you simply tell them, like a woman, about the problems and difficulties, it very often enables to reach agreement and get support. And yet women as wives, sisters, mothers, in my opinion, are closer to social issues, that is why they have to work in the appropriate committees.

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– What is a priority for you in health care reform?

My main task – available and qualitative health care for the population of Ukraine. I want a guaranteed list of health care services is accessible to every citizen and is paid by the state, not the patient. Today my priority is the development of emergency medical care, especially when the government has started to work on the creation of hospital districts. It is very important that the rule of “golden hour” remained in action, that is ambulance cars should get to a hospital intensive care for a maximum of 60 minutes from the most distant populated areas within the hospital district.

Yet another of the priority directions of my work – reforming the dental industry within the overall health care reform. Judging by the number of doctors and the number of patients’ appeals dentistry is second among all medical specialties after therapeutic. The distinctive feature of dentistry is a large cost. So it should be funded by private funds and insurance fees. Increasing the level of dental care requires public policy, regardless of changes in government, the policy, aimed at developing medicinal government, which is essential for the protection of rights of both doctors and patients. Dentists together with deputies initiated writing relevant legislation in order to implement self-government. Therefore, the adoption of the Law “On the Dental Activity” will allow to reform the dental field.

– How to achieve changes in the current health care system?

We have to make sure that the doctor is interested in a number of patients. For this, we need to change the principle of health care financing – when the funds “will go” to the patient. In Parliament it was voted, and in May a bill, which provides financing of health care services itself, but not the maintenance of premises of hospitals that occurs today, was signed by the President. The transition of institutions from the budgetary to non-commercial will allow doctors to be financially independent, plan their expenses basing on the needs of the institutions themselves. Money is flowing to the facility only when the patient himself chooses this place for treatment. So I hope that soon we will witness a healthy competition for every patient.

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– Will the new approach facilitate health care development of medical tourism?

The potential of our doctors is extremely high. Despite the fact that the industry is chronically underfunded and unreformed, a large number of doctors is constantly evolving, every year we hear about the new proprietary methods of prevention and treatment. We provided qualitative health care of European level, at cost, which is, unfortunately, much lower than the cost of similar services in other countries. Our private institutions provide equally worthy maintenance services, and conditions for patients. So dental, implant, cosmetic, ophthalmic services, provided in Ukraine, are popular among foreigners. The same applies to plastic surgery. Nothing prevents Ukraine from declaring its attractiveness in this sector. We have to promote our own, Ukrainian, having such powerful scientific, practical and medical facilities. After foreign patients investments in our state and municipal institution scan come.

Increasing the image of Ukraine, strengthening its promotion in health capabilities – such tasks company IMRO (International Medical Relations Organization), the head of which I am, has set for itself. The company’s goal – to help the best players of Health Care of Ukraine present their products and services, to establish relations and comprehensive cooperation with medical workers of other countries. We can form the positive image of our country by promoting and presenting our achievements and scientific and practical developments of medicine to the world community. And we have a great deal of them, our talented doctors and medical scientists worthily represent Ukraine at the European and global conferences, congresses and symposia. And there is all this, despite the lack of funding and lack of funds for purchasing innovative medical equipment.

– Your life credo?

We should not wait until someone makes something for us – we have to fight for our future, for the development and prosperity of our country by ourselves.