“Feminists about the war” is a series of informal feminist talks. First-hand testimonies and thoughts of women active in civic activism before and during the full-scale Russia’s invasion are equally important as reports about political decisions.

In this material, you can read the conversation in text format. Also, you can watch the podcast with English subtitles on our YouTube.

How did Ukrainian journalists cope with the stress of the first days of the war? Why has media work been replaced by military recruiting or protest actions for some? What is it like to be a war correspondent in an army? What kind of pressure do female journalists who actively express themselves as feminists face? But why, despite everything, do they believe in changes for the better?

Listen to the eleventh and final episode of the “Feminists about the war” podcast, which was recorded in December 2022. Our guests:
Iryna Sampan — a journalist, war correspondent, radio host, feminist activist.
Iryna Zemlyana — a media trainer, security trainer, activist.
Yana Radchenko — journalist, editor of the news feed in the “ZMINA”, LGBT and feminist activist.

Yana Radchenko: Hi everyone. I am Yana Radchenko, I originally come from Zaporizhzhya. I am currently based in Kyiv, but I am in Zaporizhzhya right now, as I came here for the winter holidays to visit my relatives. I am a journalist and a newsfeed editor in ZMINA.

I focus on human rights, such topics as LGBT, rights of the LGBT people, rights of the national ethnic communities, and women’s rights.

Iryna Zemlyana: Hello! I am Iryna Zemlyana. I am a media expert and a safety coach. I am also an activist, oftentimes I turn out to be an activist that fights for women’s rights.

I also belong to people who launched… Not exactly launched, we just had an idea how to respond to the ex-president Petro Poroshenko after he unceremoniously called the journalist “my dear”. So Liza Kuzmenko and I decided to make T-shirts “I am not your dear”.

I am also the one who, as Russia believes, has poured beet juice on Russia’s ambassador in Warsaw during the event on May 9. After that, I have to hide.

Iryna Sampan: I am Iryna Sampan. I am a war correspondent, journalist, radio anchor, and feminist – lately, I suffer and treat my depression induced by my views.

For 8 years I have gone to war as a military correspondent. I am a former editor-in-chief of the military radio “Army FM”, a radio station of the Ministry of Defense. Then I had my project “Eastern flank” which focused on the steps Ukraine takes to become part of NATO. And since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, I only go to the frontline and film news reports there – and that’s about it.

‘I didn’t sleep, I lay awake eand waited for the war to start’: about February 24

Iryna Sampan: I probably want to begin with the most interesting and painful topic – let’s return to February 24. How did you meet the war? What were your thoughts once the war started?

Iryna Zemlyana: Arguably, I was one of those who realized most profoundly what was happening. I was also one of the most well-prepared people.

I packed my bug-out bag one month and a half before February 24. For that, I got my fair share of… I wouldn’t call it hate, but rather scolding, from people on Facebook. I made a post listing things that you need to take, and explained how to prepare yourself, and the Facebook community told me I was escalating.

So, on February 23 I knew from my sources, that 4 o’clock in the morning will mark the beginning of the full-scale invasion. I went to my place on the left bank, took my backpack… I added a stroke of civility to my backpack, as it was filled to the brim – enough for several weeks in the basement. I added one sweater, one pair of jeans.

I went to spend the night on the right bank. I knew that if the bridges would be closed, it would be tough to leave the left bank. I didn’t sleep. I lay awake and waited for the war to start. Once I heard the first explosion, I waited for 5 minutes, as I thought that maybe it was a garbage truck. I called it “5 minutes of peace”.

I woke up my friend, told him that the war had started, got dressed, and in 40 minutes I was already leaving Kyiv – that’s how it was. 

Yana Radchenko: After what Iryna said, I think that I wasn’t prepared at all… On that day I was in Tokmak. That’s a town in the Zaporizhzhya region, my mom lived there for that time.

I was visiting. I had a ticket to Kyiv for February 24, but I didn’t use it because railway connections in my city were blocked, and railway stations were closed. I thought that it was for good. My first thought was that they probably would want to bomb big cities, regional centers. That’s why I didn’t even go to Zaporizhzhya. We stayed, as we thought, who needs this God-forgotten Tokmak? So we decided to stay… but in two days fighting began in the city. In two days the city was occupied. And so began our life under the occupation.

We went to peaceful pro-Ukrainian protests. At the time, we lived in the basement. It was scary to stay at the apartment for the night, so we spent the nights in the basement. 

Mobile connection was cut off for two weeks after the city was occupied. No mobile connection, no other communications… When in two weeks we had a semblance of mobile connection, one point of it, we managed to call our relatives in Zaporizhzhya – and they picked up even before we heard the dial tone. For two weeks, they held their phones close day and night, waiting for us to call them – I believe they were preparing for the worst.

That’s how it was for us. I spent another month under occupation, and then we found out that during the pro-Ukrainian protests local collaborators stood next to the occupiers writing down the names of those attending the protests. Then these people on the list were called for the “talks”. That was what made us want to flee.

It took so much time. It was only 100 km to the regional center. Usually, the way takes one hour-one hour and a half, but we spent 8 hours because we were subjected to the filtration… But everything turned out fine, we made it and then went to Kyiv.

Iryna Sampan: Oh, girls, on February 24 I was in Dubai. I was on the vacation. I agree with you, Yana, I wasn’t prepared at all, as…

From October to February, I implemented the program “Eastern flank”. I constantly held interviews with Western partners, with the countries of the eastern flank of NATO. From Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Baltic States… with U.S. and Britain… and all intelligence services and partners repeated that it was unlikely, big invasion simply couldn’t happen,

it was illogical and it’s unwise. We don’t think that Putin is capable of doing that, they said… And on February 23 at 10 AM we fled to Dubai and got there by the evening. On the morning of February 24, we woke up and read the news – the war has started.

But I am the war correspondent! How can I… The war is there, while I am here. I am shaking – not because the war has started, but because I am not where I am supposed to be, and I can’t do anything about it. Obviously, there were no flights. Planes weren’t flying, I had to look for some other way to get back. I also had to think of someone to leave my child with (I raise a child alone).

I decided to evacuate them to Georgia, my friend and my child, and then I came back. I interviewed the commander of the Georgian Legion Mamuka Mamulashvili and his sister. He told that the full-scale war will start not even with 100%, but 250% certainty. Believe me, he said, Putin would do it, not only on Donbas but everywhere…

“But Mamuka, it’s impossible… It’s illogical…”, and on and on with these Western narratives, stating that nothing would happen… That’s how we got to know each other and became friends…

That’s why I had an opportunity to evacuate my son to Mamuka’s sister. She also told me that the war would begin, so in case we would need anything… – and that was exactly the case. About three weeks before the beginning, Mamuka said the war was about to be launched and asked the war volunteers from all over the world to come if they wanted to help Ukraine. He was flooded by the calls, day and night. He didn’t have time to pick it up, to respond… they’ve been coming from all over the world. That was when I said: “Let me help you”.

Either way, I couldn’t engage in journalism… I realized that I wasn’t able to write a single word, couldn’t film a single video, much less could I sit in a studio. So I began helping him to recruit soldiers. We organized a call center of sorts, a recruiting center I call it, our headquarters, and we helped the foreigners to get to Ukraine. And then… On March 3 I came back to Ukraine. 9 Georgian soldiers and I crossed the Polish-Ukrainian border at midnight.

There were plenty of stories… That’s what I’ve been doing for over three and a half months. And then the flow of the foreigners coming to us stopped. The ones who wanted it did it in the first months… Recruiting center was no longer needed, the foreign legion was full, and I decided to return to journalism.

Cars from Europe and protests: the first reaction to the war

Iryna Sampan: Can you tell what has changed about your work? Especially in the first months. Did you work in the first months?

Yana Radchenko: My work changed completely. In the first month, I didn’t work as a journalist at all. It seemed that in the two days of intense fighting, when I thought that in 10 seconds I will no longer be there… and that’s how they passed, these two days, these 48 hours.

My perception of life has changed profoundly, my perception of my goals… I even sensed that some part of my brain froze and didn’t work. I couldn’t imagine how it was possible to write something. People are dying, Mariupol is bombed, big cities are bombed… And what, I would be sitting and scribbling something about gender equality or about my other topics? When I was sitting under the occupation, pro-Ukrainian protests were my only diversion, the only thing I did under the occupation. 

When we fled the city, a human rights organization immediately asked me for an interview. ZMINA also contacted me and asked me to write a text on life under occupation, on evacuation, and so on.

I sat down and was like: OK, how do I write? My vocabulary has shrunk over this month. I believed I was regressing. But later I spoke to my therapist, and she told me that this is the norm. I managed to write the text. I forced it out of myself, spent 5 days writing it. But for now, that’s my favorite work, the only one I wrote under a pseudonym. My family is still there, on the occupied territories. It was risky to write the things I wrote under my own name…

And then I was asked to work as a newsfeed editor and a journalist in ZMINA. Prior to February 24, I worked on a freelance basis, but from April I work full-time.

Iryna Sampan: Your words really speak to me. At that point, it was crucial for me to do something by hand, to run somewhere, to arrange something, to get some help…

I brought the cars from Europe. I felt the urge to move, as… I don’t know that’s how my body responded to the need to survive. For me journalism… and I hope, my vocation will excuse me for that pause… At that time, I probably invalidated it in a way. I thought that it was crucial to make something physical. And to help physically. My texts won’t help these particular soldiers, these particular units, and so on…

I was probably wrong, as later once again I realized that journalism is important, and I will literally die lest I will be engaged in it. I can’t live without it, that’s a fact. But then the brain itself traced the way of survival and defined what it means to be useful. Ira, how it was for you?

Iryna Zemlyana: Firstly, I want to defend you from yourselves and say that come on, the war has started… When things escalate… When such tragedies happen, we all become citizens. It is natural that you wanted to help as much as possible.

I was really active as well. At first, my friend and I went to her mom in the Vinnytsia region. We spent the whole day of February 24 to get there, and then I got a call from the Presidential Office stating that I was on the kill list, one of these lists made in order to kill all the pro-Ukrainian activists. They said that I wasn’t at the beginning of the list, but not far from it either. I was asked to leave the country, even though I didn’t plan to do it at all.

I was horrified… At the trainings, I teach about security, and we also hold lectures about what to do when captured. And I know damn well what can happen to women held in captivity. And I thought: if God forbid, they would occupy Kyiv and seize control over everything, I wouldn’t even be able to leave the country… There would be nothing to do. I told that no, we won’t stay for the night, even though everyone looked at me as if I was a lunatic. We showered and drove into the night…

On February 25 we wrote several texts focusing on safety – how to communicate with Russian soldiers, about wartime threats, and… I literally wrote those in the notes on my phone.

My colleague Katya Dyachuk edited the texts and put them on our website. We realized that it was crucial to give as much information as possible – that’s why I worked at top speed.

On February 24 and 25 foreign journalists were already contacting me… For instance, there was that British journalist who raised funds for the first batches of body armor on his Instagram page and quickly sent body armor to us. Someone found me and gave me the walkie-talkie, and I didn’t even know who it was and how did they find me. And so I thought about how to get all this over the border.

There were also protests. In a few days, we saw that the sanctioned goods were transferred to Russia over the Polish-Belarusian border, bypassing the sanctions… My friend Natalka Panchenko and I decided to block the Polish-Belarusian border.

At first, we went to the border. Natalka and I, we stood with Ukrainian flags in front of the cars, as there was a two-lane road… We stood and blocked the road with our bodies. We unfurled the Ukrainian flags and stood in front of the two trucks: I stood in front of the Russian truck, Natalka – in front of the Belarusian one. The drivers started the cars… Natalka turned to me and said: “Don’t sweat it, they won’t run us over”. I was like: “I don’t sweat it”, and so we stood there sweating bullets, and the Russian truck went towards me…

But they were stopped by the Polish police… We stayed there in several waves… In the first wave, there were just a few of us, up to 10 people. The longest truck queue stretched for 55 km, and that made the European Commission include the blockage of the EU-Belarusian border in the fifth package of sanctions.

And then it was May 9, and protest with the ambassador… We understood that on May 9 Russians would try to lay flowers on the monument commemorating fallen Soviet soldiers. We also understood that we couldn’t let it happen. Several hotheads will dress in white, and take a package of beet juice. When the ambassador will go to the monument, we would get out of the park, pour beet juice on ourselves and fall down. And that would symbolize that wherever Russians appear, Ukrainians die.

Ukrainians taking part in the protest immediately came close to him… And I thought that we had to fulfill our mission – to pour the beet juice on ourselves. I approached the ambassador along with others, we poured the juice over us, and other packages were flying from the crowd aimed right at the ambassador. I stood face-to-face with the ambassador. Looking him straight in the eyes, I called him a fascist.

Of course, in a few minutes, Zakharova called us Nazis. I never would have thought about what happened next: there weren’t even thousands of threats I received, there were tens of thousands. My personal data was leaked in the Russian Telegram channels along with the calls to kill me. They wrote me about how I will be raped – in all details, for several hundred symbols. Never in my life have I read something like this…

I want to specify that some of them were bots, but there were also ordinary people. Every three minutes, my phone rang – I couldn’t use it at all. Once I picked up the phone, and someone said that “I’m a Russian German, I will come from Berlin to kill you”. Then Russia instituted criminal proceedings against me and asked Interpol to put me on the wanted list, so I contacted the Polish police.

Polish police were scared to the bone. Bypassing the procedures, they gave me protection and asked me… to leave Poland. – And so I left Poland… In one of his speeches, Putin said something like: “What is this Europe? You can’t even lay flowers to the monument”, and that was when I realized that I am in trouble.

‘How can you prepare for rape, it’s not normal’: about the dangers of war

Iryna Sampan: I wanted to discuss dangers, specifically, dangers women face. You, Yana, were under the occupation, you, Ira, often worked with what happens to women held in captivity.

I also know the methods of Russians, FSB agents, and locals, I mean collaborators and militants. I know what they do to women. And obviously, you can’t prepare for that… How can you prepare to get raped, right? How can you prepare for encountering someone who will try to violate your dignity in different ways…

Yana Radchenko: When you were talking, I remembered how last December I read “Daughter” [by Tamara Horikha Zernya]. Now that’s actually my favorite book. And I’ve been thinking how strange is reading this, and writing this, and living like this in 2020, I don’t know when this book was written, in 2014 or 2016… How is this even possible?

But I couldn’t imagine that the war looks like this. I can’t say that in my imagination it was more or less horrifying – it was simply totally different. That’s why when we’ve been living in the shelter… I mean, we lived at home, but every night we went to that shelter because there was a complete mess… 

There were more Russians than people (laughing). I mean that there were more occupiers than Ukrainian civilians… It was dangerous to stay in the flat. They could come and do something… Plus, mom and I are women, and obviously, we were worried. That’s why we went to the shelter, and then we had, say, the company of women.

And we discussed this, as this shelter was under the kindergarten, and occupiers knew that women and children were hiding underneath. Once we heard them walking nearby… My first thoughts were that if they would come, they would be able to kill or take away all men and rape the women. Like in the book “As if I am not there” by Slavenka Drakulic if you read it.

I thought about this and remembered – in the first days of the full-scale invasion there was a psychological course held for women journalists, and a psychologist told us about how to prepare for the fact that you can be raped. For instance, there was advice to dissociate – to imagine that this body is not yours, that it happens to someone else. This advice was based on the experience of other women that survived this. Then I couldn’t understand how can we discuss such advice, how can we even focus on this issue, how to get prepared for being raped? It’s cringey…

But when I was in the basement, hearing the occupiers walking above – I remembered this advice in a moment. I believe at that point I was ready for anything… Luckily they didn’t come to us, but they knew that women and children were sitting there, and that was not OK, it was not what is supposed to happen. The dread we felt over these… I don’t know… minutes or hours… I can’t even measure that time… I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.

The same with evacuation. When we fled the city, everyone told me: dress up ugly, don’t wash your hair for three weeks, look ugly, so that no one wouldn’t want to look at you. But this has no effect, your looks have no effect, regardless of how long you didn’t bathe – it has no effect on them. There are no sane people we are talking about, but fascists.

No rules can be applied. I still think that it’s not possible to prepare yourself for it, for the rape. And women don’t need to prepare themselves for it, never in their lives. No one needs to be ready for that.

Iryna Zemlyana: Once these threats started coming, the majority of threats were aimed at me as a woman, right? For instance, this message, a really long one, detailed how I would be raped, and what would happen to my body in the process…

The situation with the ambassador was the same… I wasn’t perceived as a journalist in all the threats, I was perceived as a woman.

Iryna Sampan: If we are talking about a woman, women’s body, how many raped women there are in the country, how high the violence rates… Of course, it has worsened with the war, but prior to the war, the rates of violence were already strikingly high, particularly domestic violence.

Women are fighting in the army alongside men, trying to prove that they… that they are where they are supposed to be, that what they do there is not for looks, or for amusement, they are not there to be pleasing to the eye…

And at the same time, women journalists of “5 Channel” announce the calendar with naked body parts covered by weapons or camouflage nets, stating that they raise funds for the army. I personally spoke out against it, as I was offended as a woman, as a journalist, as an expert, as a war correspondent, as a citizen… I probably can’t count it on my hands…

So I stood up against it. I was supported by our organization “Women in the media”, and numerous media and legal organizations that defend the rights of women and human rights in general. And God, what began next… I still can’t cope with the aftermath. Terrible bullying began, and the Facebook community was divided into two parts, those for and those against it.

All possible arguments defending both points of view went down the drain. We contacted the Government Commissioner for Gender Equality Policy in order to make sense of the situation. We believe that at this point it is simply wrong, it is discriminating, and it is unacceptable to sell sex and demonstrate women’s bodies this way. Our country is at war, and women try hard to secure their place in the sun.

For that I began getting threats, people were calling me an angry, dumb, ugly feminist that can’t get laid and has issues. They wrote how they will hit me, rape me, etc…

Iryna Zemlyana: I mean, once I read this, I wrote you some words of support because I thought that I know how it is. I felt so bad for you that I wanted to cry…

As I know how much I endure from Russians, from our enemies, and how hard it is. I felt so bad, knowing that Ukrainians do the same…

Iryna Sampan: Dozens of women came to me, both at my page and in direct messages. Lots of women in the military thanked me, told that I was doing it right, and thanked me for my position.

Thanked that I spoke out about it… There were women who themselves have experienced violence. I think it is really cool. Yes, we may be outnumbered, or it may seem to us that we are. Right radicals launched their bots and chatbots – they began searching for my exes to buy my nudes from them, even though there aren’t any.

Still, they began photoshopping photos and creating my pages on OnlyFans. Actually, these narratives then emerged in the Russian media, calling me the main propagandist, prostitute, and so on.

Iryna Zemlyana: I was most shocked when general Zaluzhny signed this calendar and accepted it, and I don’t even know how to comment on that…

Iryna Sampan: He wrote down that beauty is not the only source of power. It seemed that he attempted to distance himself from it, but still, he did it.

Iryna Zemlyana: I immensely respect him, but I keep thinking about this, and I really don’t know what to say.

Still, I want to put it down to war. Maybe I am naive, but I want to think that we wouldn’t be resorting to such humiliating things, were it not for the war. Of course, I’m a bit naive, as Ira, together we wrote a lot, signed dozens of “eternal statements” regarding the discrimination of women in media…

Yana Radchenko: Did you ask why? How did they get the idea to create such a calendar? I don’t know how they came up with it, but when they get responses… so much hate, so much outrage on social media… we openly say – your calendar is sexist, it objectifies women. And they say: “But we are raising funds for the Ukrainian Armed Forces”.

“Our goal is noble”. Maybe they believe that the end justifies the means, and that’s why they created the calendar, knowing that sexism sells, and the calendars will be sold out.

I believe they made it exactly because they knew that it will be popular, and they will get the funds… But raising funds for the Ukrainian armed forces doesn’t justify objectification.

‘What can this blonde know: how to be a woman in journalism?

Iryna Sampan: A question for you: should journalist ethics be applied to behavior and presenting yourself?

Iryna Zemlyana: As a media expert and safety coach, I want to emphasize the issue of appropriateness. Of course, no one will specify the dress code for the journalists, right?

No country, no society can tell journalists what should they look like. But I want to speak about appropriateness. It can’t be appropriate to go to the frontline, to make a report, and to film an interview wearing high heels, right?

That is simply out of context. I would like to ask the journalists to think of appropriateness. How will your interviewee feel by your side?

Yana Radchenko: I thought that not only does society perceive us through the lens of make-up, our mini-skirts, I don’t know, heels and alike, sometimes it also can focus on things that are out of our control. Say, our age or hair color…

I was also told, “What can this fair-haired girl possibly know, she’s a blonde, blondes are so dumb”. It is real, and it gets applied to journalists as well. It is about internal discipline, inner perception of yourself, your boundaries, etc. In the first place, of course, you have “not to look” – that’s why I don’t like face-to-face interviews.

I am generation Z, I prefer speaking on the phone. That way no one will see what clothes do I have, what color is my hair… (laughing). I believe that you need to focus on what the journalist says, what they ask. Looks are deceiving, and that’s my hill to die on.

Iryna Sampan: Yeah, you speak about a healthy society, which is mature, well-formed… And that’s my dream as well.

My male colleagues simply don’t face it. When you come to the frontline, and I can come there for several days, I mentioned this in the dozens of interviews, I have to build the trust anew… First, I need to hide, remove the make-up, to dress normally. I hold myself accountable and realize that I will be subject to stereotypes…

Second, I am almost 29, but still, I am perceived as immature. I need to build this dialogue, to get to know them… Once again, I need to prove that I am here for a reason and that I am not afraid, they don’t need to coddle me. I don’t require any special conditions, I don’t need a bathroom with a toilet bowl. And that comes first, OK? And only then the actual work. It takes my resources, and this is exhausting.

In war journalism, you work with the army, with the army which is highly patriarchal. Men’s laws and men’s rules play the lead. You have to both accept them and stand out for yourself – and it takes your resource. When you manage to prove why are you here, why your man let you go here, and why he is not entitled to let you or not, you don’t want anything. You want to sit down and rest. You don’t want to work…

I really want this stage of proving yourself to disappear. I want to be able to get straight to work. Things like this calendar don’t help it, that’s for sure.

Iryna Zemlyana: I want to say that for me… Our 3–4 coaches are men, and I am the only woman. It is challenging for me to repeatedly state that I am a coach, the same as men… If they are the men on the practice ground, it doesn’t mean that they know something better than me. I am always perceived as an errand girl. It is challenging for me as well, so I really get what you say.

Iryna Sampan: Let’s draw some conclusions. Do your feminist views help you or, on the contrary, cause inconveniences, making you fight even harder? What will happen to the feminist movement in Ukraine? Considering the war-induced traumas, how difficult is it going to be to build a profeminist society?

Yana Radchenko: OK, I will begin with me being a woman in journalism. Considering the fact that I work in the human rights organization on the human rights website, my team is a priori devoid of sexism and discrimination. That’s where I am immeasurably lucky. I am also perceived, not only, as a woman. My other identities are also taken into account. For instance, I am now perceived as an internally displaced person, as an LGBT activist, as a feminist, as a journalist writing about Romani rights, and not just as a “woman in media”.

When I write articles and ask for comments from representatives of state bodies, they are always like – “I will talk to this girl now…” – But I am not a “girl”… I try to have my boundaries respected and right away state that I am not a “girl”. I didn’t come here to chat, I want to ask you for a comment.

That’s where it needs to get better. And getting to the next question, I want to say something about the future… – I don’t know how it will be, not for sure… However, I am sure that the laws getting implemented as part of the European integration processes will play a huge role. 

For instance, the law “About media”. It is so wide-ranging, so detailed, so comprehensive. It can be used as a manual: you simply open it to learn how you should write: it mentions hate speech, specifies what you shouldn’t do, tells about violations, everything… It is really great, and I genuinely hope that it will be more than a shiny trinket… That you will be able to use it in practice. If it has practical application, then half of the work is already done – that’s what I think. It will be much easier for us to work in journalism.

Iryna Zemlyana: I am an optimist! Victory first, and then… Well, actually… I don’t feel significant barriers in my work… I’ve got a wonderful team, that is out of the question. In fact, the journalist community is wonderful as well…

And I am sure that… We are already witnessing changes in how women are perceived. We know how Oleksandr Korniyenko apologized for calling a woman “ship pine”… He apologized on the second try, but his second apology was successful, and it was really great. Already we see other cases…

These are the positive changes. There were times when Yanukovych said “once the spring will come, Ukrainian women will start undressing”, right? Then, could we imagine a flashmob “I am not undressing for you” similar to the one addressed at Poroshenko?

So the changes are undoubtedly positive. I am sure that regardless of how patriarchal the army is, men are fighting for a better Ukraine. Men and women alike. But we are talking about the support of equal society…

That’s why I’m being optimistic, but obviously, the changes won’t be rapid. But we will help, you and I.

Iryna Sampan: How I see it… Maybe I worked with the army for so long, and it deflated my optimism, but still, I believe in it. Of course, I agree, that several years ago we couldn’t imagine such things possible, such changes. But I know exactly what needs to be done – we need to protest, noticing these gender-sensitive moments,

Of course, that depends on the education. For instance, when we conduct surveys interviewing women… Once we researched women in media and there was a question on the survey: “Have you faced gender discrimination?”

And how it was… 50-50, half of the women told no. – And we are not sure if this 50% of women can identify gender discrimination. And we have to take it into account. Of course, all these scandals about the calendar, discussions of the role of woman’s body – I am sure they will stick to the memory of many… And the next time someone would decide to make something similar, they will think twice, thinking maybe something is wrong with this, and that they need to create something new.

That’s why we need to fight, and we will keep fighting, despite all the bullying, the threats, despite everything. Our first priority is to win over the Russians. And then keep building a normal, healthy society.

I am really grateful for that talk. 

Iryna Zemlyana: I want to hug you. Thanks for being you, for doing what you’re doing.

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