Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues (Print ISSN: 1544-0036; Online ISSN: 1544-0044)

Review Article: 2021 Vol: 24 Issue: 6S

Implementation of gender policy in the public authorities

Liudmyla Samilyk, University of the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine

Vladyslav Teremetskyi, West Ukrainian National University

Alona Milevska, University of the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine

Nataliia Lytvyn, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv

Olena Artemenko, National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine

Tetyana Kondratyuk-Antonova, Kyiv Institute of the National Guard of Ukraine


It has been stated that the problem of gender inequality is recognized worldwide, since the presence of women in public space is limited in many countries. Factors that slow down the growth of gender equality process within public authorities have been outlined. Those factors are the lack of a comprehensive system of gender policy implementation at various levels and structures, insufficient program planning of this area, the lack of analytical and statistical information on certain aspects of gender policy. It has been noted that there is currently a significant gap in three gender dimensions in the public authorities sphere: availability, salary, length of service. The essence of gender policy in the public authorities sphere has been determined on the basis of the analysis of gender policy and gender parity within public administration; the need for its formation and implementation has been substantiated. The most effective tools for gender integration have been defined. They are gender statistics, gender analysis and gender budgeting. The authors have distinguished the characteristics of a modern manager, which to some extent are inherent in women and make them competitive. It has been proved that emotional intelligence, social competence, related abilities play the key role in the process of public administration. The authors have studied the strategies used by different states to overcome inequalities between men and women and measures that are effective in this direction, such as gender quotas, the existence of ombudsman institution for equality in rights and opportunities between women and men, etc. The main directions of effective implementation of gender policy, which can bring a new style of governance in the public authorities sphere have been substantiated. The emphasis has been placed on the importance of educational activities for the implementation of gender policy, especially those related to the introduction of the gender component into the educational process for training experts in the field of public administration.


Gender Policy, Gender Equality, Principle of Equality, Human Rights, Gender Policy within Civil Service System, Equality Principles, Public Administration, Public Administration, Gender Policy in the Civil Service


Ensuring gender equality in the public authorities sphere is an important factor for the implementation of such important principles as: 1) social justice, since it creates conditions for giving women the same amount of rights and opportunities as men; 2) effectiveness, which is to increase performance indicators; 3) efficiency, which directly depends on the diversity of the subjects of teamwork, in particular, in terms of gender.

However, a number of issues of gender policy implementation remain unresolved. It is based on the traditional notion of male dominance within power structures, the importance of social roles depending on gender, psychological characteristics and personality traits, etc. That is why the formation and implementation of an effective gender policy in the public authorities sphere is currently relevant and needs to be improved taking into account the best practices of leading foreign countries.

The purpose of this article is to comprehensively study the problems of gender policy implementation in the public authorities sphere, to identify the main tendencies for guaranteeing the implementation in some foreign countries and the peculiarities of application in Ukraine. The main objective of the article is to find out the effectiveness of gender policy implementation in the public authorities sphere in foreign countries, to determine the regularity of the impact of gender equality on public processes and the efficiency of public authorities, to identify shortcomings in implementation, and to formulate propositions for their elimination taking into account positive foreign experience.

Materials and Methods

The authors of the article have used the reports of the World Economic Forum “Global Gender Gap Index”, monitoring information of the State Statistics Service of Ukraine, the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine, the National Agency of Ukraine for Civil Service, survey results of civil servants and other respondents. The authors have also accomplished a comprehensive analysis of the current national and foreign legislation, analytical materials in order to determine specific features and shortcomings of legal regulation in this area. Theoretical (analysis, synthesis, generalization, comparative and legal, etc.) and empirical (statistical, observation, etc.) methods have been used in the research.

Results and Discussion

Various structures, which are responsible for ensuring gender equality in different spheres of public life, including public administration, operate effectively in many countries. This situation indicates the priority of the gender component in the international community, demonstrates the principles of gender policy and their effectiveness.

Gender policy at the international level is based on the norms of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Political Rights of Women, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and other documents in the sense of not exclusive prerogative of women’s rights, but of equality and balanced participation of males and females in the public life for the common goal – improvement of the living conditions of all citizens. Each state must understand the importance of gender equality to achieve sustainable development of the country and the need for practical application of the specified requirements.

L.O. Voronko notes that gender policy in the public administration system is a component of the state gender policy aimed at promoting gender equality within public authorities through the implementation of gender parity in government structures and achieving gender-balanced participation in taking management decisions at national, regional and local levels (Voronko, 2012).

Ye.V. Yaroshenko uses the concept of “gender parity in public administration” as a balanced, equal representation of men and women in public authorities – the state and local self-government agencies, as well as ensuring equal access to public service by citizens in accordance with the qualifications and professional training of the candidate, regardless of gender and with the elimination of gender inequality and non-discrimination on the basis of sex during the appointment (Yaroshenko, 2020).

Gender policy in the public authorities sphere is the formation and optimization of guarantees of equal opportunities for women and men to exercise their rights and interests in the public sphere, ensuring their social status in accordance with personal and professional qualities, education, intellectual potential and practical skills.

Gender equality can be considered in various aspects: formal (legally declared legal requirement of equality); conditional (creation of opportunities for men and women and favorable conditions for their implementation); effective (actual implementation of the principles of gender equality). It is possible to assess the provision of gender equality in various spheres of public life only in the complex of these components.

Ukraine among European countries is characterized by very low indices of economic and political involvement of women. The number of women MPs is extremely low (12% in the national Parliament and local representative agencies, in senior positions in the executive system or in local government structures) (Yaroshenko, 2020).

As of the beginning of 2021, Ukraine has lost 15 positions in the Global Gender Gap Index of the World Economic Forum countries. Ukraine ranks 74th out of 156 in the ranking. It is immediately followed by Poland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Iceland retains the lead in the ranking. It is followed by Finland, Norway, New Zealand and Sweden. The last place is occupied by Afghanistan. The greatest inequality is observed in the category of “Empowerment in Politics”. Women in the 156 countries represented in the study hold 26.1% of parliamentary seats out of about 35,500 and hold 22.6% of more than 3,400 ministerial seats. Women have never been heads of state in 81 countries (Global Gender Gap Index, 2021).

For example, Brazil has one of the worst rates for women's formal representation in the Americas. While the regional average stands at 28.5% for women in single and lower houses of parliament, women constitute less than 10% of Brazilian deputies. The picture is not much better in other levels or branches of government (Biroli, 2018). It is obvious that the problem of gender inequality is recognized worldwide, since the presence of women in public space is limited in many countries. Governance, which displaces the gender perspective from program and legal regulation, contributes to the formation of public opinion about such a situation as norms, which entails negative consequences.

Supporting the global goals of sustainable development until 2030 proclaimed by the Resolution of the United Nations General Assembly of 25September 2015, No. 70/1 and the results of their adaptation taking into account the specifics of Ukraine’s development, one of the priorities is gender equality, expansion of the rights and opportunities of all women and girls (The President of Ukraine, 2019).

Analyzing the current progress in terms of goals and objectives, it should be noted that the task of ensuring equal opportunities for representation at higher levels of decision-making in political and social life needs to be accelerated. Thus, according to the State Statistics Service for 2019-2020, the share of women among MPs of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine was 20%; the share of women among deputies of regional and local councils of cities of the regional significance was 25%; the share of women in the civil service category “A” was 29% (State Statistics Service of Ukraine, 2020). There is progress compared to previous years, but it is extremely low, given the rate of quantitative dominance of women over men in society. Accordingly, the influence of women on the formation of domestic and foreign policy is insignificant.

It should be noted that there is currently a significant gap in three gender dimensions in the public authorities sphere: availability, salary, length of service. The analysis of statistical data gives grounds to claim about a low percentage of women’s representation in governing boards; women’s wages under the same conditions (in the same field and with the same qualifications) are consistently lower than men’s ones; the length of service of a woman in one organization is relatively lower than that of a man, which may indicate the need to change jobs (State Statistics Service of Ukraine, 2021). However, such a gap in gender equality is a problem not only for Ukraine but also for the world. For example, the Covid-19 outbreak that is an international public health problem, has demonstrated not only weaknesses in many countries’ healthcare systems (Teremetskyi et al., 2021a), but also exacerbated existing gender inequalities, discrimination in access to social protection and basic services, insufficient or no access to justice, lack of access to legal aid (Teremetskyi et al., 2021b).

It should be emphasized that there is much evidence for J. Butler’s point of view that society is gender-structured. It is clear that masculine culture encourages the development of such qualities as energy, the desire for power, the dominance of the rational over the emotional, aggression. That is why feminism arises as an opposition to masculine culture. Moreover, it develops and affirms the ideology and practice for the formation of a new consciousness, focused not on aggression/confrontation, but on mutually interested cooperation, which makes it impossible to suppress individuals (Balasynovych, 2020).

It is wrong to assess gender opportunities in terms of any gender dominance, unilateral advantages, competition, etc. However, almost every fifth men (16.3%) and one in ten women (10.8%) tend to believe that enlarging women’s rights will mean the restriction of human rights (Chernyavsky et al., 2020). The correct understanding of gender equality is the balance of the rights of men and women, their equal influence on public processes and opportunities for social realization.

However, in order to prove the reasonable equality of men and women, we consider it necessary to emphasize the characteristics of the modern manager, which are inherent to some extent in women and put them on a competitive level. Thus, the key role in the process of public administration is played by:

1.Emotional Intelligence. The ability to manage emotions is directly related to the employee’s performance. There are many studies that confirm that women work better in measuring emotional intelligence (Mandell & Pherwani, 2003).

2.Social Competence. An important role of public work is to effectively use interpersonal skills in order to establish relationship and communication.

3.Related Abilities. A characteristic feature for a woman is the simultaneous focus on different tasks, in different directions.

Factors that slow down the growth of gender equality process in public authorities include the lack of a comprehensive system of gender policy implementation at various levels and structures, insufficient program planning in this area, the lack of analytical and statistical information on certain aspects of gender policy.

The European Union’s approach to genders reflects three main concepts of equality: 1) equal treatment and ensuring legal equality in rights; 2) equal opportunities that provide differential status through positive actions; 3) equal outcome, which requires attention to all aspects and processes associated with the re-emergence of inequality and the implementation of their transformation, for example, by implementing the principles of integration (Rees, 2005).

Many countries in order to overcome inequality between men and women are working on certain measures. Thus, Sweden has introduced a separate institution – the Agency for Gender Equality. The effective implementation of Iceland’s gender policy is ensured by the gender mechanism, which consists of the Ministry of Social Security of Iceland, the Council for Gender Equality and the relevant structural units that exist in other Ministries. The Norwegian gender mechanism consists of the Ministry of Culture, as well as the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombudsman and a special Anti-Discrimination Tribunal, which is empowered to take decisions in cases of anti-discrimination legislation’s violation. Rwanda’s national gender mechanism includes the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion, the National Women’s Council, the Office for Gender Monitoring and the Rwandan Parliamentary Forum for Women (Public organization “Laboratory of Legislative Initiatives”, 2019).

Many countries, where women are significantly represented at the highest level of government, use the quota principle. The example of Norway best illustrates this strategy. World practice is full of other rather successful examples of using quotas. The regulation of the representation of each sex at any level of government in the Scandinavian countries is determined by a ratio of at least 40%, but not more than 60% (Giddens, 2012).

To overcome gender bias and long-standing, more than 110 countries worldwide are reported to practice gender quotas in some form. Nonetheless, electoral quotas are not uncontroversial, despite their political appeal and common adoption. Critics note that such measures run a danger of bringing to office individuals who lack the necessary qualifications and who may then be easily manipulated (Demir, 2019).

Effective mechanism for ensuring gender equality in foreign countries is the existence of the ombudsman institution for equality in rights and opportunities between women and men. Accordingly, the powers of the ombudsman include both measures to create equal opportunities for the realization of the rights and interests of different categories of citizens, and preventive activities, which should prevent violations of gender rights, as well as measures to protect them. Based on the experience of advanced countries, the institution of the Gender Equality Ombudsman was also introduced in Ukraine in 2017. However, there has been no positive dynamics of changes in gender distribution in public authorities, effective gender-oriented state and local programs and other performance indicators over the years of the Government Commissioner for Gender Policy. Obviously, other entities should be involved, in particular, state authorities and local self-government agencies, public associations, the media, etc.

The Council of Europe’s Gender Equality Strategy for 2018-2023 stipulates that actions of the Council of Europe in this regard should be aimed at determining and supporting measures and good practices that promote gender equality in relation to: electoral systems, training of decision-makers both within governmental organizations and political parties, gender-sensitive functioning of governing agencies, establishment of parity barriers, adoption of effective legislative quotas and voluntary party quotas, as well as regulation of political parties’ activity, including public funding, together with relevant Council of Europe agencies and to achieve gender balance in decision-making process, combating gender stereotypes and increase of gender sensitivity in decision-making environments (The Council of Europe, 2018).

We believe that the most effective tools for gender integration are:

gender statistics, whose data helps to identify problematic issues and areas that require intervention. Currently, there is the lack of statistical research on gender policy in some areas. An effective mechanism for solving the problem may be the use of automated statistical systems for conducting additional research:

•Gender analysis, which allows to assess the impact and effectiveness of legal regulation, existing programs and specific measures implemented in order to ensure gender equality;

•Gender budgeting, that is the allocation of budget funds taking into account the gender principle. Effective implementation of gender budgeting has the potential to improve gender equality, ensure a sense of fairness and contribute to inclusive economic growth (Downes & Nicol, 2020).

Gender audit is the component of budgeting process. The term gender auditing does not imply public budgets distinguished for men and women, but rather: an analysis of the government budget to establish the budget's differential impact on women and men and on different groups of women and men. Gender accountability provides the possibility to increase transparency, efficiency and effectiveness of the policies and reports (Biancone et al., 2017). Australia was the first country to develop a gender-sensitive budget, with the Federal government publishing in 1984 the first comprehensive audit of a government budget for its impact on women and girls (Gupta, 2017).

Mechanisms for implementing public gender policy as a mean of resolving contradictions in society through consistent implementation of actions, using effective management methods, subsystems, levers, tools, factors, interests, resources (material, financial, organizational, information management resources), provide the existence of a comprehensive system of interconnected acting state institutions, whose activities are aimed at implementing gender strategies. The main mechanisms that ensure the implementation of public gender policy are: organizational, economic, legal, staffing, infrastructural, political (Zadoenko, 2019).

The main tasks of the national mechanism for ensuring equal rights and opportunities for men and women are: formation of legislation on gender equality and control over its implementation; ensuring the effective functioning of institutions responsible for the implementation of gender policy in the state; ensuring the development of social programs, projects and action plans on gender equality issues; conducting research and training on ensuring equal rights and opportunities for women and men (Bilynska, 2011).

A significant shortcoming in the process of integrating equality is that despite the clear enshrinement of its principles in Ukrainian legislation, institutional mechanisms did not monitor the practical application of the enshrined regulations.

It should be noted that an important task in the context of the implementation of large-scale public administration reform is the introduction of gender equality standards into the activities of all public authorities. One of the highest priorities of the implementation of state gender policy at the present stage is to build the institutional capacity of state authorities and local self-government agencies at all levels of public authority (Scherbak, 2020).

The functioning of the organizational mechanism for ensuring gender policy should be based on a high level of coordination of interdepartmental and intradepartmental entities of state power.

Educational activities (raising the awareness) on the implementation of gender policy, as well as training activities, especially those related to the introduction of the gender component into the educational process of training in the field of public management and administration, should not be underestimated. Such a systematic approach forms gender competence of future managers, i.e., the correct perception and consideration of a balanced gender approach in the decision-making process in accordance with international norms and standards on gender equality.

The concept of “gender competence” is considered In the dictionary of gender terms as a socio-psychological characteristic of a person that allows him or her to be effective in the system of intersex interaction. Gender competence of an individual includes:

•Knowledge about existing situations of gender inequality, factors and conditions that cause them;

•Ability to notice and adequately assess situations of gender inequality in various spheres of life;

•Ability not to demonstrate gender-discriminatory practices in the behavior;

•Ability to solve own gender problems, if they arise (Shevchenko, 2016).

Measures related to gender equality awareness and mass provision of information about gender equality issues and balancing the rights and opportunities for their realization by men and women in the public authority sphere should influence the understanding, positive perception and awareness of the importance of adhering to such principles in society.

It is worth noting the complexity of implementing a gender approach into practice, despite the clear gender orientation of the legal regulation of the public sphere. The approach to gender equality policy in practice should be based on: 1) the mix of instruments for policy action; 2) the process of inclusive empowerment in practice; 3) gender transformation as the ultimate outcome (Engeli & Mazur, 2018). 

Conclusion & Recommendation

Thus, taking into account the functionality within public agencies, analyzing the figures of famous women in power both in Ukraine and abroad, we can conclude that the greatest efficiency of women is observed in the areas of social protection, health care, education and environment.

The effectiveness of a gender-balanced team is unambiguously increased, which is to increase performance indicators, efficiency, “duality” of the approach to solve the problems. Aristotle in his writings reasoned: “The state should be considered divided into two parts – male and female population. With that state system, where the situation with the stat?? of women is poorly organized, half of the state inevitably turns out to be illegal” (Vilchynsky, Severin-Mrachkovska & Gaevska, 2019).

At the same time, the analyzed mechanisms of gender equality of advanced countries testify the fact that sufficient representation of women in public authorities demonstrates the maturity of civil society and ensures to some extent sustainable development of the state, and the state policy is characterized by humane and stable situation.

However, many countries, including Ukraine, despite minor positive changes, have a significant imbalance of gender representation in public authorities.

In this regard, we believe that gender policy within public authorities should be implemented in the following main areas:

•Creating conditions for equal opportunities in exercising the rights and freedoms;

•Gender-balanced staff;

•Balanced consideration of the interests of women and men in exercising state and authoritative powers, in particular, in the development of programs and projects;

•Gender-balanced influence while taking management decisions at the national, regional and local levels;

•Fair efficiency requirements regardless of gender;

•Equal access to resource allocation;

•Creating equal conditions for the development (personal, professional) and self-realization in various spheres of public life;

•The exercise of powers on the basis of partnership relations, rather than competition with the opposite gender.

The state, declaring human rights as the highest social value and taking care to ensure them, must define the gender equality as an integral part of its state policy. Only balanced combination of men and women in one team provides a competitive advantages. Effective implementation of gender policy can bring a new style of governance in the public authorities sphere, where such characteristics as emotional intelligence, social competence and related abilities should play a significant role.


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