On 24 February, Russian troops invaded Ukraine and the invasion divided life into “before” and “after” not only for the people in Ukraine, but also for people in Russia and in general for the world as a whole, as the war in Ukraine has a global impact and threatens common security. But in this roundtable we would like to talk about the war through the perspective of women. Modern feminism sees war as a social evil and the result of national policies that are pursued by men. From its perspective, organised war violence is a product of the existing gender system. As early as the 1980s, feminists noted the close connection between patriarchy, violence and war.
The most vulnerable groups in war are women and children. It is they who now constitute the majority of refugees from Ukraine. It is known that 5 million people have already left Ukraine and their numbers will increase. Those who remain in the occupied territories are exposed to sexual violence. Feminism sees rape in war as a military strategy used to undermine the national identity of the enemy and as a symbolic act demonstrating submission to the conqueror of the occupied territory. Gender-based violence increases as the resistance of the people being attacked grows, despite the categorical prohibition of such acts by international law.
On the other hand, there are increasing reports of women and children going missing when crossing borders and upon arrival in European countries. Here they become victims of violence and trafficking, which is becoming part of the war business.
At the roundtable we would like to discuss gender-based violence in war, its impact on the defender and on the aggressor, gender-based war crimes, problems on how to gather evidences on violations of international law, as well as assistance to refugees and the role of NGOs in their social and psychological adaptation and prevention of trafficking.
Olga – feminist and LGBT activist from Kyiv. Olga organised several events for women and LGBT persons in Kyiv and other cities in Ukraine. Now, she organises humanitarian aid to Ukraine. She currently stays in Berlin.
Sasha – feminist and activist at the Feminist Anti-War Resistance. The Feminist Anti-War Resistance organises and communicates about anti-war activities in Russia.
Julia – expert in gender studies at the University of Coimbra. Her current research is how women in the current war in Ukraine are described in the media.
The discussion takes place on 11 May at 5 pm CET / 6 pm Kyiv and Moscow time. It will be in English and Russian with simultaneous interpretation.
If you would like to take part in the discussion, please register here.