“Free woman – free country”: march in support of women on the frontlines of the fight with pandemic took place in Kharkiv

Congratulations on the past holiday – the International Women’s Solidarity Day in Struggle for their Rights. We want to share with you the activities directed at promotion of gender equality and non-discrimination of women carried out by the NGO Women’s Association Sphere in Kharkiv.

The Women’s Solidarity March took place on March 8, being the most visible event in support of women’s rights in Kharkiv for six years. More than half a thousand participants took part in the walk through the city center. This year, the March was held in support of women at the forefront of the pandemic.

The purpose of this year’s march is to draw attention to the violation of the rights of women who found themselves at the forefront of the pandemic. Other issues one the agenda are the issue of safety of women in the city and investigation of violence against civil activists. At the beginning of the march, the participants chanted: “Who ordered the murder of Katya Gandziuk?”

“We have gathered today to talk about those women who during the pandemic continue to perform crucial, and often “unprestigious” low-paid work. We understand that they are at the forefront of the pandemic. Today we also emphasize the problem of gender-based violence in Ukraine, oppose the political persecution of activists and show solidarity with Polish women in the fight for their rights to their own bodies,” – said Anna Sharyhina, a representative of the women’s NGO Sphere.

At the beginning of the march, a group of protesting men with flags of the Tradition and Order organization lined up in front of the marching column, to which the police did not respond, and practically led the march. At the end of the action, police surrounded the marchers, while about 20 people protesting against gender equality occupied the center of the square and moved without hindrance. Eventually, police let them in through the cordon, where the protesting men tried to provoke conflicts, clung to the participants and tried to intimidate them. But in general, the march went safely.

The Women’s Solidarity March opened the program of Women’s Solidarity Weeks – an annual social and educational project dedicated to the issue of gender inequality in Ukraine and the development of the women’s movement for their rights and freedoms. The project is organized by the Kharkiv Women’s Association “Sphere”, is implemented by Kharkiv women and includes lectures, round tables, discussions and film screenings.

More detailed information can be found on the website of the Women’s Association Sphere, the Facebook, page or Instagram-акаунті account of the project.

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