Ex-head and the activist of Feminist Workshop Yosh has participated in the event “SHRINKING SPACES – A SPOTLIGHT ON GEORGIA AND UKRAINE” in Hamburg.

Together with Nina Hälker from filia.die frauenstiftung and Atina, an activist from GrlzWave they have discussed the current situation of feminist initiatives in Ukraine and Sakartvelo, presented different forms of action and strategies of their initiatives, and discussed current challenges.

The meeting focused on the situation of women’s and LGBTIQ+ rights, as well as opportunities for action in the civil societies of Sakartvelo and Ukraine. Participants discussed specific challenges feminist movements in these two countries are currently facing, and the strategies activists are pursuing. They also talked about how the invasion Russia has launched on Ukraine is affecting the work of feminist initiatives and organizations in Sakartvelo and Ukraine. The participants were reflecting upon the possible ways the world can express solidarity and what it can learn from the activists’ experience. 

Yosh has spoken about the changes brought to life and activism in Ukraine due to Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine. While European colleagues are discussing the right turn and its influence on human rights in democratic countries, human rights in Ukraine get violated due to daily shellings and attacks from the neighboring country. These circumstances place additional responsibilities on Ukrainian activists: on top of political work and fighting for the rights of women and vulnerable populations, they need to help the society to survive.

Atina has shared that the work of GrlzWave in Sakartvelo mainly focuses on online space: the activists promote the values of self-respect and women’s rights via Instagram and movies. Their channel is also accessible for girls from the villages that suffer from stricter patriarchal norms. Their target audience mainly consists of young women, and Atina believes that they may play an incredibly profound role in the political life of the country. Activist has stated that Sakartvelo is also affected by Russian aggression and lives under the threat of a military attack, like the one that happened in 2008. However, over the last years, Russia has taken up promoting its interests via political means. Atina plans to join the campaign encouraging young women to participate in the elections so that pro-Russian parties won’t win at the next elections. 

At the end of the conversation, Yosh wished the other feminists to find the inner strength for the international solidarity efforts and keep in mind that feminism needs to stay practical. By that, she meant that Ukrainian feminists expect actions supporting our resistance and not theorizing about our situation.

Visual notes from the event created by the artist @lou.eszet

This event is part of W3_project Solidarisch Handeln Lernen and was organized in collaboration with filia.die Frauenstiftung

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