Women in War
The year-long, full-scale Russian assault on Ukraine is a war in which Ukrainian women are also defending their homes and lives. As soldiers in the army with the highest percentage of women in the world, as volunteers, activists, experts, intellectuals and managers in or outside their country, Ukrainian women prove every day anew: they actively take their fate and the fate of their country into their own hands. However, the coverage and perception of women in wartime is often dominated by traditional victim narratives. Women's resilience and leadership are rarely brought into focus. It is therefore enormously important to highlight the strength, resilience and creativity with which Ukrainian women are finding new paths for themselves, their families and Ukrainian society.
The Women in War evening event will take place on February 22, 2023 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm at the Berlin City Hall (Festsaal/ Säulensaal) and will provide a high-profile platform for renowned women from civil society, academia and culture to discuss the multi-layered situations of women in war and highlight different dimensions to overcome the challenges. Making the female perspectives in and on the war in Ukraine visible in their complexity in a prominent place directly empowers Ukrainian women actors and sends a strong message of solidarity with Ukrainian women.
The screening of the 20-minute film "Oh Sister!" sets the mood for the subsequent panel discussion with Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey and four other Ukrainian guests from culture, media, academia and civil society. A video message by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Oleksandra Matviichuk and the welcoming address by Government Commissioner for Gender Policy Kateryna Levchenko highlight the weight and relevance of Ukrainian women's resilience and strength. The evening will focus on specific experiences of Ukrainian women in war, the agency of women themselves, as well as the question of compatible and appropriate support systems.
The event will be interpreted bilingually German-Ukrainian.
At the closing reception, an interactive and open exchange is desired. The pop-up exhibition by Oleksandra Bienert "I'm not a victim. I'm a survivor!", which shows photographs of 18 Ukrainian women, offers further discussion opportunities on the topic.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to the Federal Republic of Germany
Governing Mayor of Berlin
Ukrainian Government Commissioner for Gender Policy
Dr. Tamara Martsenyuk is a sociologist and is an associate professor at the Department of Sociology, Kyiv Mohyla Academy University. After evacuation from Kyiv, Martsenyuk was a visiting scholar at Freie Universität Berlin from April to June 2022. She continues to teach at the Academy from Berlin (online) and is also a visiting scholar at Leuphana University (Germany).
Her research interests include gender and social structure, including women's access to the military. In 2015-2021, Tamara (with her research team) conducted sociological studies entitled "Invisible Battalion," which examined the successes and challenges of implementing gender equality in the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the status of female veterans, and the problem of sexual harassment in the military.
Martsenyuk is a member of the International Sociological Association (ISA), the Association for the Study of Nationalities (ASN), and other professional associations. She is the author of chapters in Gender, Politics, and Society in Ukraine (2012), New Imaginaries: Youthful Reinvention of Ukraine's Cultural Paradigm (2015), and other books. Her articles have been published in Journal of Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society, Problems of Post-Communism, and Sexuality & Culture, among others.
Tetiana Goncharuk received her PhD in ethnolinguistics from Taras Shevchenko University. Ms. Goncharuk came to Berlin in 2017 and completed the master's program "Social Work as a Human Rights Profession" at Alice Salomon Hochschule Berlin.
Ms. Goncharuk was a staff member at the Center for Liberal Modernity in 2019-2020, where she was involved in memory work.
As a human rights expert, she has worked in Ukraine in various women's projects and human rights organizations. Ms. Goncharuk is a researcher and author of a number of publications on the care migration of Ukrainian women to Germany in the field of domestic 24h care. She is currently the director of HellMa women's center Marzahn-Hellersdorf.
Oleksandra Matviichuk is a lawyer and studied law at the National Taras Shevchenko University in Kyiv. She is a human rights activist and chair of the Center for Civil Liberties and a board member of the International Renaissance Foundation.
Matviichuk is the founder of the global initiative Euromaidan SOS, which advocates for the release of illegally detained people in Russia and the occupied territories in Crimea and the Donbass region. Its work focuses on reforming Ukraine's criminal code. During the Euromaidan, the Russian annexation of Crimea, and the Russian military presence in eastern Ukraine, the initiative has documented various human rights violations such as abductions, killings, rapes, and mutilations during the armed conflicts. It has received several international awards for its work, including the Right Livelihood Award in 2022. The Center for Civil Liberties received the Nobel Peace Prize the same year.
Women’s rights and peace activist, practitioner of critical pedagogy and theatre of the oppressed, feminist researcher and advocate of feminist peace.
Born and raised in the east of Ukraine, Oksana has been involved in addressing the aftermath of the conflict in Donbas since 2014. In 2015 Oksana co-founded «Theatre for Dialogue» NGO and women’s initiative “One of Us” where she was using community theatre and feminist pedagody to build dialogue and cohesion, and to advocate the rights of internally displaced and other marginalized groups of women at the national and international level. This experience led to her interest in embodied feminist methodologies, and to advocacy of the intersectional Women, Peace and Security/WPS agenda. Oksana combines activism with research and advocacy for feminist peace and grassroots movement building in Ukraine. In September 2021 she completed with distinction a Master’s program in Gender, Peace and Security at the London School of Economics. Her master’s thesis focused on embodied arts-based practices as decolonial methodologies for knowledge production about peace and security.
Since Russia’s full-scale invasion to Ukraine in 2022, Oksana has continued her research, advocacy and activism, focusing on highlighting intersectional gendered impacts of this war; challenging old and building new solidarities around new realities of peace and security in Ukraine and the region; and exploring existing frameworks of antimilitarist feminism through an embodied positionality as a Ukrainian activist and scholar.
Senior Expert Eastern Europe and EU Neighbourhood, Bertelsmann Foundation
Sign language interpretation in German and Ukrainian is available upon request. Please send your request by mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The organizers reserve the right to exercise their domiciliary rights and to exclude persons from the event who make racist, nationalist, anti-Semitic or other inhuman statements.
We would like to point out that the event will be recorded in sound and vision. If you have any questions, please contact the colleagues at the reception.
Please also bring your registration confirmation with you to the event. You will need them for admission.