Today’s Ukrainian woman: So much more than just a pretty face

Google “Ukrainian” and “women” and everyone knows what you’ll find. But is that the whole picture of Ukrainian women and why does it matter?

Ukraine is famous for their beautiful women and the internet is overflowing with Ukrainian dating and marriage sites. Add “smart”, “intelligent” or even “talented” in your search and it will still overwhelming yield most of the same sites. Even “successful” and “influential” cause only slightly higher results in pages that are NOT referring to appearance and potential as a mate.

With everything going on in Ukraine you might be thinking – “So? Is this really something worth talking about?” But it is exactly because of events in Ukraine (and how they are reported) that this matters. To really understand any country, particularly Ukraine and her current conflicts, you need to get beyond the stereotypes and see people, including her women, for the whole picture beyond face value.

What’s the bottom line?

THE FACTS: 

World Bank statistics (2016) show women in Ukraine as:

  • 41% of all senior and middle management positions
  • 12% of national parliament seats
  • 13% of ministerial level positions
  • roughly equal to men in all levels of educational accomplishments

Just this past week’s news had these Ukrainian women in the headlines:

  • Kseniya Simonova, the unique sand-artist that garnered the “golden buzzer” on America’s Got Talent
  • Annamari Dancha, the country’s first World Champion medal-winning snowboarder
  • Minister Uliana Suprun, the polarizing reformer in the Ukrainian Health Department who, agree or disagree with her, is a powerful force fighting for change.
  • and sadly, Kateryna Handziuk…the young activist that ended up giving her life for her commitment to seeing a better Ukraine.

This is not to mention these other past news makers:

  • Controversial, and yet a force to be reckoned with, politician and former Prime Minister Julia Tymoshenko
  • 20 year old university student and budding tech-wizard Tamara Voshchylo, who invented a “smart glove” that translates sign-language to voice
  • Veronica Didusenko, championing for the rights of mothers (after being crowned Miss Ukraine only to have her title taken from her when it was known that she has a child), as well as being a passionate advocate for nurturing future mathematicians (as she is herself).
  • and countless other innovators, reformers, scientists, athletes, performers and creatives that are helping to reveal the beauty that is much more than just skin deep in Ukrainian women.

What does this mean to you personally?

Hopefully, wherever you live and whoever you are, this is a reminder to be wary of stereotypes, even seemingly “positive” ones.

Is it a bad thing that Ukraine is known for beautiful women? Of course not.

But just as Ukrainian women are so much more than simply their looks, so also Ukraine is so much more than the headlines of ongoing battles against enemies both within and without.

If you want to discover all that Ukraine and her people have to offer you have to move beyond the “click bait” and tired cliches. Get the facts. Get to the bottom line.