Hemispheres: The second anniversary of Ukraine’s revolution

On the second anniversary of Ukraine’s revolution, Nikki Keyser checks into the region to see if civil society is gaining strength. Global Fund For Women has supported women’s rights and peace organizations for almost 30 years in the former Soviet States, Eastern Europe, and Western and Central Asia. We first hear from Mariam Gagoshashvili who oversees the very complex and diverse region for them, supporting organizations trying to end violence, increase economic and political empowerment, and secure reproductive and health rights for women and girls. We’ll hear about the backlash from governments and traditional institutions, as some try to build civil society.

Mariam Gagoshashvili:


Russia is one of the largest nuclear powers in the world as well as one of the strongest geopolitical actors in Europe and Central Asia, and is significantly destabilizing the region. Its recent intervention in Ukraine’s sovereignty is a great example of the instability.

Ukraine exists in a state of war with almost 1.5 million internally displaced persons, and with three territorial areas either occupied by Russia or controlled by pro-Russian separatist leaders. During this struggle, Ukraine has witnessed unprecedented leadership among women who organized themselves in so-called “women’s hundreds.” These activists have shattered all gender-related stereotypes that prevented them from equally contributing to the revolution alongside their male counterparts. Notably, the country has its highest ever representation of women in the national parliament.

In spite of Ukraine’s explicitly declared commitment towards Europe and democratic values, the growing militarism and nationalism threatens to reinforce rigid gender roles, and prevent women from fully contributing to the formation of the new Ukraine. Join us to hear Natalia Karbowska from the Ukrainian Women’s Fund, who will discuss Ukraine’s potential for advancing towards greater gender equality, and the implications of the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

Natalia Karbowska: