Liberty, Equality and Poverty. Values, Opinions and Principles that Separate Men and Women in Ukraine

Author: Dmytro Ostapchuk, DataVox Editor

The author is grateful to Borys Davydenko and Oleksandr Zholud for providing valuable comments

VoxUkraine has analyzed the responses of more than 30 000 participants of a detailed political-economy test. It turns out that men and women have completely different perspectives on a range of important issues. Who is more liberal, who is leaning towards socialism, who believes in "a strong hand" and who is more tolerant of the LGBT community?

On November 8, Donald Trump won the US presidential election.

The future 45th US President thus defied most of predictions by experts and opinion polls. The distribution of results by gender is especially surprising. Exit polls show that more than half of women (53%) voted for Trump despite his notoriously sexist behavior and statements. His support among white women with no higher education is especially noticeable (only 34% voted for Clinton, while 62% supported Trump). Why did this happen? US sociologists will now undergo some soul-searching to find the answer.

The unexpected election results and the surprising distribution of votes by gender prompted us to explore more deeply whether we have a correct understanding of the ideas, values and opinions that unite men and women in Ukraine, and the ideas that divide our country along gender lines.

Let us immediately make it clear that we have no answer to this question. We have not conducted a specialized sociological study. Yet we can reveal something about the divergence of views on political and economy-related issues between men and women in this country. One of VoxUkraine’s projects, Political Compass, has assembled the answers of tens of thousands of people to a set of political, social and economy-related questions. VoxUkraine has relied on them in order to find out to what extent political views of men and women in Ukraine differ. Please note that the data of the survey have not been verified and their analysis has thus no scientific value.

What Political Compass is

Political Compass is a model that helps determine the ideological inclination of a respondent. The model places the respondents’ views on a two-dimensional space based on their replies to 40 questions in two spheres: the economic one (left-right ideologies) and the social one (authoritarianism-liberalism). Since the start of the project by VoxUkraine in October 2015, more than 30 000 people have taken part. You can participate as well on

VoxUkraine does not view these data as representative due to the relatively small sample size, unverified information that was provided by respondents, and an undiversified sample (almost all participants found out about the test on Facebook). The results of Political Compass can be downloaded from

The words "men" and "women" refer to the phases "the men that took the survey" and "the women that took the survey", and should not be understood as "all men or women in Ukraine".

Differences and Similarities

If Ukrainian politicians had to respond exclusively to the interests of Facebook users in Ukraine, they would have to build a politically liberal country, while its economic policies would be tilted slightly leftwards.

When it comes to the political model, the overwhelming majority of observations, both among women (85%) and men (86%), fall into the lower, liberal part of the Compass. Therefore, most respondents of both genders have liberal, democratic values.

The distribution of results among women and men

10,814 observations
20,293 observations

Different results emerge in the economic dimension. Men are divided almost equally between those leaning to the left (socialist) views and those leaning to the right (free market) views. Women, instead, prefer the left economic ideology (4 out of 5 women (79%)). Perhaps, one of the reasons for the observed inclination towards socialism and economic paternalism is the labor market reality in Ukraine. According to the State Statistics Service of Ukraine, women are paid 25% less than men are in the same industries. This may be the reason why they count more on support from the state.

Arms, Feminism and Land

Other issues that make the views of men and women diverge include the right to possess firearms, feminism and free land trade. Most men (68%) are inclined to support the legalization of possession of firearms in Ukraine, while only 39% of women agree.

The views also diverge on the gender equality of opportunity in Ukraine. Half of women believe that feminism is relevant and justified, and is not simply a whim or fiction. On the other hand, only 28% of men do agree that there are signs of a gender inequality in Ukraine (60% believe that the argument was simply invented by women). The share of women (and its dynamics) at managerial positions in the executive and legislative branches of power seem to confirm that the problem exists.

Free agricultural land market has also proved to be a controversial issue. Men (68%) are more inclined to allow land to be sold, while this view is supported by 51% of women. Nevertheless, on October 6, 2016, the parliament prolonged the moratorium on the sale of agricultural land to at least January 1, 2018. The bill obtained 297 votes, which barely missed the constitutional majority. Only seven MPs voted against it. This result reveals the divergence of views on this issue between the voters and the MPs.

Gender divisions become even more pronounced when it comes to the views on the health and leisure. For instance, 87% of women believe than large enterprises should develop social services in their locations. 75% of women believe that "The state is responsible for the welfare of every citizen."

The question of who should own the Ukrainian railway company produced some interesting results. Slightly more than half of women think that the state should own the railway. Men are split on the issue, as 40% support the continuation of the state ownership, 39% disagree, and 21% do not have a clear answer.

Answers of Women and Man to Economy-related Questions

+ ? - + ? -
Large enterprises are responsible for contributing socially to society876772919
The state should financially support internally displaced persons (refugees)80119771112
Abortion is an absolute right of women79813721117
The state is responsible for the welfare of every citizen761014631126
State enterprises that do not make a profit should be privatized73111679912

Freedom-loving Nation

Men and women tend to agree more on social issues. For instance, about 90% of respondents of both genders believe that any authority should be questioned. Such a unanimity may have been caused by numerous disappointments that Ukrainians have had in their leaders and moral authorities in the last decades.

It can be viewed as a positive result that most respondents are not willing to entrust the country’s leadership to a strong president with extraordinary powers. The example of some post-Soviet countries shows that such a blind trust usually ends in the establishment of authoritarian or quasi-authoritarian regimes and ensuing stagnation.

The "Facebook-Ukraine" would be a secular state. Indeed, 9 out of 10 respondents do not agree that only a religious person can be moral. This state would be relatively tolerant towards the rights of the LGBT. The overwhelming majority (88%) stands against criminal responsibility for same-sex sexual relationships, while half of the respondents support the right of same-sex couples to marriage.

Ukrainians are less tolerant when it comes to the ATO issues. The statement "Any action of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the area of the conflict in the East (anti-terrorist operation zone) is justified" has divided both men and women. Such questions could serve to classify the respondents according to how radical they are. 41% agreed with the aforementioned statement. Therefore, the radical views were quite widespread in the Ukrainian society one year ago.

Answers of Women and Men to "Social Questions"

+ ? - + ? -
Only a religious person can be moral64905491
The clause criminalizing same sex intimate relationships should be reintroduced to the Criminal Code67878488
Our ethnicity has many superior qualities compared to others107838686
Ukraine should restore the death penalty201268271063
Children with special needs should study separately from others201367272152

The Map of the Political Views of Ukrainians

We have not created any models that would explain the relation of respondents' views to their characteristics (e.g., education, income, place of residence) for two reasons. First, the data are not verified. Second, the interpretation of the data requires professional sociological skills. Yet this did not stop us from creating "The Map of Political Views", which reflects the results of more than 17 000 respondents that indicated their place of residence. You can use filters in order to see the distribution of answers according to selected criteria.
Visualization: Andriy Ulyanenko