Iryna Sysoenko, People’s Deputy of Ukraine, Deputy Head of the Ukrainian Parliament Committee on Health Care, explains the political election processes, victories of Ukraine in 2018, gender equality, exclusively for the Fashion of Diplomacy.
Dear Iryna, we are talking to you at the beginning of the New Year – both calendar and political. Therefore, it would be advisable to ask about the political New Year, which promises to be rich in significant events for our country, as you see it. What will it bring to the Ukrainians in your opinion?
– The next year will be the year of double elections: presidential and parliamentary. Of course, I want to believe that 2019 will be the year of real change. But we already see a series of dirty political manipulations, false slogans and promises used by politicians in the struggle for positions and armchairs. However I hope that Ukrainians will prudently approach the main political events this year, before the elections. It is said that every nation chooses the authorities it deserves. So, I think that Ukrainians deserve an honest government that will work efficiently, and not simulate, which, with its clear steps and actions, will improve the standard of citizens’ living, the level of education, medicine, and will bring our country to a new economic level, and finally, to the level of developed European countries. When deciding who to cast a vote, it is important to evaluate not the promises that many times had sounded from the mouths of those who held the reins of power, but to evaluate the things done.
The past political year was not easy as well. What would you name the main Ukrainian victory of 2018?
– Yes, indeed, the last year was not easy, but very important. Since I am in the parliament dealing with medicine, I would like to talk about the main positive points in the medical field.
This is primarily due to the fact that in 2018 the first changes in the financing of the health system began, the first steps to implement new laws, which were adopted by the parliament.
2018 became the year when the state began to pay for medical services to family physicians, pediatricians, and therapists through the state budget funds. Medical institutions began to be reorganized into non-profit enterprises, which will allow them to receive much more money from the state, insurance companies, employers, and any sources of financing. Nowadays, the patients have not felt changes yet, because it needs time. But in the coming years, the state will pay for diagnostic services in the hospitals, from 2020 for operations, appeals to surgeons, urologists, cardiologists, narrow specialists.
With the new laws we have foreseen, and the government has to do it, that patients have to spend less and less money when they go to the hospital. In the end, the norm of the Constitution of Ukraine on free medical care should work in reality when it is free of charge for patients, but paid for the state.
How and when did your political career begin? What made you go for politics?
– Being an attorney by education, I understood that all processes are carried out according to certain rules, which are established by law. That is why, I have set myself the goal to be where the laws are written and adopted – the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. This was precisely the motivation that was the main impetus for me to go for politics. Helping one, two people is good, but I want to change the system to help many people. And without new laws, the health care system will never change.
There is a lot of talking that Ukrainian women are not sufficiently represented in politics. Do you agree with such a point of view? Do not you think that your political career refutes such allegations?
– Not only I am a successful example of a woman-politician in our country. I want to say that in Ukraine, more and more women are holding high positions in various fields of government.
No one will be surprised by the representative of the fair sex on the post of minister, vice speaker, each subsequent VRU composition with more women. The same applies to women, who are the deputies of city, regional, district councils;
women who are the heads of villages, women governors, heads of regional councils. Therefore, we cannot say that we are lagging behind the world in the issue of women’s presence in Ukrainian politics. And this brings hope that Ukraine will develop precisely thanks to women.
How difficult is it to be a womanpolitician in Ukraine? What is the main obstacle, and what is the main advantage in the activity of a womanpolitician?
– First, I will talk about the benefits. Based on my experience, I can name the main qualities of women in politics, where they are more advantageous than men:
- a woman intrinsically is a guardian, a man intrinsically is a warrior. A woman is focused on the result, while men are often busy with the process itself and are sometimes so enthralled by the process of competition and warfare, that they do not remember what they were struggling for and what the whole process was for at all;
- the ability to take responsibility. It is a natural quality; it is connected with the process of delivery of a child and further responsibility for him/her.
As for the obstacles, first of all, I want to say about the main stereotypes and challenges faced by a woman-politician:
For example, the widespread assertion that politics is not a women’s profession. All around try to obtrude on a woman-politician an opinion that politics is a hard day-to-day job, daily stress, it is communication skills, the ability to take the heat and stick to their position. There are attempts to devalue women-politicians, to persuade that as a woman, she acts emotionally, not intellectually, and so on. That is, there will always be people who resist the change of paradigm, but their views are becoming obsolete in the first place. I am sure that when you are praised by colleagues in politics, you do not exist. An excuse to drink champagne is when you begin to be criticized by your colleagues, rejoice when it starts to happen.
Another stereotype: “A woman-politician is a bad wife and mother”. There is a widespread perception that a woman working in politics cannot be a good wife or mother, since she leaves her strength at work. This is a stereotype with which it is necessary to work hard. After all, the position of the leader is not only new rights and opportunities in the world of men, but also responsibilities that do not exclude the duties given to us by nature: being a mother and a wife.
In my opinion, it is necessary to educate children by our own example. So, you will never teach a child to love work if you do not work yourself. Children do not always hear us, but they perceive very well our behavior, what we do and how we do it. From my own experience, the more you have achieved, the better the future you form for your children.
It is also said: “A woman-politician is doing work all the time, so she’s strong, but lonely.” 4 years being in parliament, I work a lot, but last year I got married a second time. In addition to me, three other women-deputies also added the status of the wife to their status, the same applies to pregnancy and giving birth to a child.
That is, in the modern world, a woman can also build a political career, and marry and give birth to children!
“A woman who goes to politics ceases to belong to herself” and this is the biggest mistake.
That is, your day begins with a lot of calls, a large number of simultaneous tasks, a high level of stress, you do not sleep and at a certain stage negative physiological processes begin! This is the limit you must not reach. The issue of your own health should always be in the first place.
In politics there will always be people who will quickly replace you, but you will never replace your health and appearance. I see how my female colleagues work from morning till night, how they cease to pay attention to their body, they are getting overweight, their hormonal background changes, health problems begin, then men start to behave differently, in the end you do not want your husband to live with you just because you have a deputy’s badge.
Recently, the women’s forum “I’m happy”, initiated by you, has taken place. What is the purpose of the forum, how is it different from other forums?
When I planned to hold a women’s forum, first of all, the goal was to make it useful for women. I wanted to raise the issue not only about women’s success in politics or women in business, or the issue of gender equality, which is now very fashionable.
This is all very important, but it is only a component of that large and many-sided female happiness! That’s exactly what I wanted to talk to women about.
After all, every person wants to be happy, but for everyone in a certain period of life, happiness will mean something different.
And it is important for every woman to understand what her happiness is, what she really wants. And I am very pleased that many women approached me, thanked and asked when the next event would take place. Therefore, it was just a good start, I plan to continue a series of similar events, because I felt they were useful.
As Deputy Head of the Ukrainian Parliament Committee on Health Care, what you can say about medical reform. How fair, in your opinion, is its critique, which we encounter in the media and social networks?
– The Parliament has adopted the necessary qualitative medical laws, as I have already noted. But whether it will be good for people depends on how the Government will implement realize these laws. Personally, I will do my best and all that depends on me, so that people feel protected, crossing the threshold of the hospital.
What would you like to wish the readers of our edition?
– Despite the continuous distrust of the society to the authorities, the parliament; the disappointment in everything that is happening in our country, I want to wish to keep good and love to Ukraine, to relatives and friends in heart.
Much depends on each of us and only we can build a strong, successful country, nobody, except us, will do it. Successful and happy Ukraine begins with a happy Ukrainian, happy family.