Three basic principles of deputy Politiko

Olga Politiko talks about the role of women in Parliament and society

Olga Politiko, of the Standing Commission for Industry, Fuel-Energy Complex, Transport and Communications at the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus, talks about the role of women in Parliament and society

Olga Politiko (left) in radio studio

How far have you been able to fulfil your goals as a deputy?

In honesty, I didn’t expect the style and rhythm of my life to change so quickly. I’d been elected as a deputy to the City Council, but this is a whole other level. We pass laws affecting millions of people; it’s a great responsibility. I know more about some spheres than others; having worked for almost 20 years at a factory, I’m familiar with industry and economics. Where my knowledge is lacking, I never hesitate in consulting more competent colleagues. I also set aside time to read petitions from my constituents in Baranovichi, taking on board their questions and anxieties. I consider everything carefully, to find solutions quickly, without bureaucratic delays or empty promises.

Certain bias must exist concerning women engaged in public policy…

I don’t feel this. A third of the Belarusian Parliament is female, which meets standards for European democracy. Certainly, stereotypes prevail concerning women in state posts, who head collectives or undertake public work but, in my opinion, efficiency has nothing to do with gender. It’s possible that men grasp general global strategic problems more easily, while women pay more attention to detail but the symbiosis of such approaches can only improve our legislative activity.

Our society has traditionally expected men to make a career, while women have been expected to devote their life to their family. However, times are changing, with women now working as directors, deputies, cosmonauts and generals. Yesterday, it would have seemed impossible. Personally, I’m very grateful to my husband for his enduring support, understanding and help with family obligations. Such support is priceless; without it, my work would be impossible.

Are you satisfied by state efforts to support families?

The state’s attitude towards family, motherhood and childhood is at a high level, meeting European, and world standards. We now consider it natural but some highly developed countries cannot afford to give women three years of paid maternity leave. Our kindergartens are also subsidised, with parents paying only for their children’s food. Maintenance, education, training and preparation for school are offered free of charge: a privilege few countries can afford.

Large and needy families are given preferential terms when building homes and, from this year, additional support is being given to families with two children. The ‘Big Family’ programme launched this January, allowing those adopting or giving birth to their third child to claim a sum equivalent to $10,000, for use in providing for their offspring.

Do you consider yourself to be successful?

Let others judge my successes. My working career has mostly been closely connected with Atlant CJSC’s Baranovichi Machine-Tool Plant. This taught me to set goals and work determinedly to achieve them. The main thing is to never give up. I apply this rule to everyday life and, if I see that I can help someone, I do so.

Regarding the role of women in Parliament, the German theory of three ‘Ks’ must surely be outdated: Kinder (children), Kuche (kitchen) and Kirche (church). The triad of Professionalism, Decency and Patriotism is more relevant today.

By German Moskalenko
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