News / Europe

Uprising Opens Doors for Ukrainian Women

Uprising Opens New Doors for Ukrainian Womeni
X
February 27, 2014 1:10 PM
Ukraine's protest movement, that led to the ouster of the government last week, involved many women in both traditional and non-traditional roles, and some of them hope it marked the start of a revolution in women's status. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Al Pessin
Ukraine's protest movement, that led to the ouster of the government last week, involved many women in both traditional and non-traditional roles, and some of them hope it marked the start of a revolution in women's status. 

Independence Square has been crowded with protesters and their supporters for months.  The men who guard the barricades against police assault are hailed as heroes, and those who were killed are honored as martyrs.

Women joined the effort, mostly in support roles - preparing food, passing bricks, and delivering sandwiches and tea to the men on the barricades.

"The guys are just sitting there and pretending they are very important, very cool.  And the women are really working," said Nina, a security volunteer, who hides her face to stay safe. She broke out of the old stereotypes to stand guard with the young men.

"I know how to cook.  I know how to clean.  And also I know how to talk.  And I know how to think, how to organize and how to fight," she said.

Nina is one of a growing number of women who are using the opportunity of this uprising to make a revolution in their own lives.

Not far from Nina's location, Aleksandra Nazarova is taking a shift guarding a government office to be sure no documents that might contain evidence of corruption are removed.

"The only option for me is to inspire other women to be as active as they want to be in every place they want to be active," she explained.

Many of the women in non-traditional roles are part of the Women's Brigade, formed last month to assert their right to work alongside the men. 

"With the former government, we always fought for women's equality and equal representation.  If we don't succeed now to have a totally different reality, then for a lot of women this whole fight was senseless," said  Nina Potarska, one of the organizers of the Women's Brigade.

Women of all generations have been supporting the protests in whatever ways they can.  And at the Women's Consortium of Ukraine, Chairwoman Maria Alekseyenko says that's what is important.

"Most important now was for women to realize that they can make their own decision on how to participate.  And it was important also for women to understand they should participate in all activities that concern their life," she said.

On Independence Square, the now three-month-long political rally continues, watched over by a huge portrait of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.  But she is the exception.  Most Ukrainian women have more traditional roles - something that may change more rapidly now for the country's new generation.

You May Like

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs