Women’s Access to Positions of Political Leadership: Gendered Narratives from English Language Newspapers in the Case of Yulia Tymoshenko of Ukraine

  • Abstract:

    I began studying women’s political leadership as the scholarship addressing women’s access to positions of political leadership is less extensive in comparison to scholarship addressing women’s access to parliament. Furthermore, I am interested in the influence that the communist system has had on politics of post-communist Europe (PCE). My thesis is a case study about Yulia Tymoshenko of Ukraine, that analyzes the contextual factors of the rise to the position of prime minister twice (2005, and 2007-2010), and her failed presidential campaign (2010). Why Tymoshenko was perceived as viable for the position of prime minister, yet was unable to secure the position of president in 2010? Moreover, how was gender used to portray Tymoshenko in English language newspapers during her time as head of government and her pursuit for head of state? I employ gender analysis to identify how gendered narratives may help or hinder a politician, presenting them as competent or incompetent in three English language newspapers (The Globe and Mail, Canada, The New York Times, the United States, the Guardian, the United Kingdom). In addition, I seek to understand how these news sources portray a woman political leader from a PCE country. I analyze whether these newspapers impose western concepts of understanding or stereotypes of PCE, to a Ukrainian context.