Winners of the "Picture Gender Equality" Comic Competition announced in Ukraine

Date: Thursday, August 17, 2017

1st prize-Ivanenko 675x276
First prize winner, Anna Ivanenko

Winners of the “Gender Equality - Picture It!” comic competition, organized by UN Women in Ukraine, were announced in Kyiv on 21 July. Seven winners, out of the 62 drawings submitted from 24 locations across the country, received their awards at the ceremony.

The competition invited young artists between the ages of 18 to 30 from around the country, with a special emphasis on youth from the conflict-affected regions, to submit comics representing their impressions of women's rights and gender equality in Ukraine.

First prize winner
First prize winner Anna Ivanenko. Photo: Andriy Krepkih

"The whole society benefits from women’s empowerment. Gender equality is possible only if we join our efforts and expertise,” highlighted Anastasia Deeva, Deputy Minister of the Interior of Ukraine, congratulating the winners.

"In my work, I reflected on the famous saying that ‘behind every great man, there is a great woman’ – yet women are not behind. Women have to feel empowered and come out of the shadow,” said Anna Ivanenko, first prize winner, during her powerful acceptance speech at the ceremony. Ivanenko is a 25-year old designer and printmaker based in Kyiv.

The winning comics deal with issues related to gender stereotypes and traditional roles of men and women in the Ukrainian society, the unequal share of childcare and domestic work, sexual harassment at work and barriers to career development for women, among other issues.

2ndprizeLazniuk 300x348
Second prize winner, Kateryna Lazniuk.

Ultimately, to eliminate violence against women, you must address the root causes, such as gender inequality, discriminatory social norms, gender stereotypes, attitudes and beliefs. It is critical to work with the youth to achieve these aims. Their minds are often more open to changing harmful traditional attitudes,” stressed Leigh Tomppert, Programme Manager at UN Women in Ukraine.

The winners highlighted the importance of overcoming gender stereotypes and their own role as young artists. All winners mentioned facing gender inequality in their everyday lives and explained how these inequalities are reflected in their work.

It is unbelievable how much easier it is for men to pave the way to success than women, who constantly need to overcome barriers. And at the end of this difficult road to success, usually men decide whether women deserve certain jobs. This is just unfair,” said Mykhaylo Zablodsky, a 28-year old illustrator who won the third prize.

Zhenya Oliynyk, a 24-year old journalist from Kyiv and the second place holder, illustrated the social stigma that mothers face in her entry to the competition. “You never see a woman receiving positive public attention for taking care of her children. But if a father decides to equally share childcare responsibilities with the mother, he is often treated as a superstar,” she said during her speech.

2ndprizeOliynyk 400x278
Second prize winner, Zhenya Oliynyk

Following the presentation of awards, experts in gender, comic art and media facilitated three group discussions with the young audience members on key gender issues of concern: women in power and decision-making positions; violence against women – with a focus on sexual harassment; and gender roles, traditions and stereotypes. The young participants discussed and suggested ways to change harmful attitudes, overcome stigma and stereotypes and promote gender equality and women’s rights in Ukraine.

After the event in Kyiv, follow-up discussions will be held with young people in the conflict-affected areas of Eastern Ukraine.

The Comic Competition was held in the framework of the UN Women-UNDP Joint Programme on “Restoration of Governance and Reconciliation in Crisis-Affected Communities of Ukraine” funded by the European Union. The programme, launched in June 2016, is being implemented in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts of Eastern Ukraine (Government-controlled Areas). One main objective of the programme is to enhance community security and social cohesion by increasing awareness of gender equality and gender-based violence in local communities.

The winning comics

Ukraine- Winners of the 'Picture Gender Equality' Comic Competition