While the number of women in Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada lags behind the world average, it is increasing. As of the 2012 election, the percentage of female members of the 450 person parliament is up to 10%.
A number of the women in Ukraine’s parliament have extraordinary backgrounds. A few of the more notable women who have been Verkhovna Rada deputies:
Olga Bodnar – molecular physicist
Olga Bodnar graduated from Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University in 1987 with a doctorate in molecular physics. In 2004, she was also certified to practice law. She served as a member of the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc in the 4th and 5th convocations of the Ukrainian parliament.
Oksana Bilozir – pop music star
Bilozir studied music at the Lviv Conservatory. She first began performing professionally with her husband’s group, Vatra. Since 1994, she has led the rock group Oksana. Bilozir has released 15 albums, 10 music films and a DVD. She was honored with the designation People's Artist of Ukraine in 2004.
She was a deputy in the party Our Ukraine during two of her three terms in parliament. She ran as an independent in 2012, but was not re-elected.
Olena Bondarenko – journalist
Bondarenko was born in a concentration camp for political prisoners. She is the daughter of a surgeon and an engineer. Bondarenko herself holds degrees in law and journalism. She was editor in chief of the newspaper Chas from 1997 to 1998. She wrote a book of poems called Youth Age which has been translated into four languages.
During her terms in Verkhovna Rada, she served as a member of the group for interparliamentary relations with France, Israel, Croatia and a number of other countries.
Raisa Bogatyrova – medical doctor and law professor
Bogatyrova’s first job was working as an industrial seamstress. After getting her degree in medicine, she became an obstetrician and later the deputy head physician at Kramatorsk Central Municipal Hospital.
Raisa Bogatyrova is consistently included on top 10 lists of Ukraine’s most influential women. She’s been a member of Verkhovna Rada since 2000. She now also serves as Ukraine’s Minister of Health.
Hanna Herman – journalist
Hanna Herman is another woman who consistently appears on the lists of Ukraine’s most influential women. She was a reporter for Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty and a number of local Ukrainian papers. She served as an advisor to Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych before returning to parliament in 2012. She described her role as a dissident in the administration, looking out for the interests of average Ukrainians.
She’s written two books: Invisible Pyramid and Chevrona Atlas.