The war in Ukraine is a highly gendered conflict. Gender-based violence has significantly increased following the full-scale invasion by Russia (including rape as a war weapon, increase of domestic violence, torture of women and their exposure to their children’s and relatives’ torture). Millions of women have been displaced (internally and externally) and exposed to overexploitation and all kinds of violence. These women face real difficulties in gaining access to waged labour, housing, as well as abortion and reproductive health services in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries where they have sought refuge, notably Poland.
At the same time, Ukrainian women carry the bulk of reproductive work necessary for the resistance. Women are participating very actively in the resistance, some of them are fighters, many of them have become the main providers for their families. Women are disproportionately responsible for social reproduction labour, which has been increasingly threatened by the Russian destruction as well as being privatised in a context of militarisation as well as the austerity budgets imposed by the International Financial Institutions. This social reproduction labour, however, is just as essential to the Ukrainian resistance as the much more recognised and waged defence labour.
Who cares for the carers?
In this context, feminist activists have joined the resistance while addressing the specific gendered issues women face. They focus on women’s specific needs in the context of war - often overlooked and made invisible - such as medical and psychological care, menstrual hygiene products, baby formula, etc. These activists care for the women who care for the whole population and make any resistance possible. However, the recent Russian all-out attacks on the country’s infrastructures and the resulting electricity cuts make these feminist activists’ work often impossible. So, let’s get together to (em)power our Ukrainian sisters!
The Feminist Collective of the European Network of Solidarity with Ukraine is raising funds to support the humanitarian and activist work carried out by four feminist collectives. The funds collected will be fully divided between Feminist Workshop, Feminist Lodge, FemSolution and Bilkis.
You can support these groups by making a donation to the following account, with the mention “Powering Ukrainian feminists”:
Bank name: BCGE
N' IBAN: CH5400788000050950848
N' BIC/SWIFT: BCGECHGGXXX
Beneficiary name: Réseau de solidarité européen avec I'Ukraine
Beneficiary address: Avenue Krieg 40, 1208, Geneva, Switzerland
Further information on the feminist Collectives:
Feminist Workshop operates in Lviv and surrounding region, working with refugees and older women. Since the beginning of the war, Feminist workshop has widened the range of its activities, including babysitting and helping displaced women with accommodation, providing elderly care and psychological support and other humanitarian issues. Contact: email@example.com
Feminist Lodge is a grassroots initiative, founded in Kyiv in 2017 in order to promote gender equality through educational and cultural activities. The war has forced its members to switch to providing vulnerable women and their families with humanitarian aid, which they distribute in the countryside, including the temporarily occupied territories, as well as to internally displaced people. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
FemSolution is a Ukrainian grassroots left-wing horizontal feminist initiative, founded by students in 2016. Since the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, this group focuses on the distribution of menstrual hygiene products for people affected by the war and of medical supplies for people with mental health issues. Both needs are strongly gendered, as women and girls are disproportionately affected by armed conflicts. Contact: email@example.com
Bilkis is an independent intersectional and inclusive feminist initiative based in Kharkiv. Its activities include raising funds for food and basic groceries, transportation of food and humanitarian aid from Poland/ Warsaw, transportation of women and mothers to their families, assistance in finding housing and shelter, providing humanitarian assistance to those who cannot leave.