Before the full-scale war, I had worked as a journalist, researched social problems and reforms, and engaged in advocacy. My team and I developed the media on conscious motherhood Promum, and we studied key reforms in Ukraine, researched gender order and related problems at the analytical center Constructive.Institute, especially, domestic violence, its impact on women and children, and inequality between men and women. We communicated these topics to the media, drew the attention of the state to them.
The extent to which these topics are taboo in our country, I saw both in research and in the field - communicating with my readers and followers in social networks. We have good legislation in this area, but its implementation takes time and effort. Unfortunately, unequal pay, additional burden of housework, “penalty for motherhood” lead to financial dependence and professional unfulfillment of women today, which in the future may cause violence, poverty, low level of education for women and their children.
On the second day of the war, I decided to stay in Ukraine and create volunteer headquarters, because it had become clear immediately that the need for products, medicines and hygiene items was critical and would only grow. Having learned about this, my acquaintances, friends, colleagues, began to give their products from warehouses, we united with two like-minded people and began to deliver food, medicines and basic necessities to everyone who needed them – elderly people, large families, people with disabilities.
At some point, we were given a warehouse of diapers, and I wrote on the Promum account about it and called on everyone who needed it to write us. In the first weeks of the war, stores were short of products for children, in small towns the situation with diapers and infant formula was catastrophic. We received far more inquiries than we had in stock. Then it became clear what we should focus on in the coming months. We named our headquarters Так. Це Штаб (Yes. It is headquarters) and started helping mothers with children in difficult life situations (DPs, women with children with disabilities, families with many children). Then everything was on an accelerated mode - we automated all the processes of receiving and processing applications, delivering aid packages, finding potential partners and financing. During the five months of the war, our headquarters has sent 5,000 aid boxes for mothers. And we are not going to stop. After all, we understand that the war is only deepening the problems of women. In addition to the loss of homes, funds and security, additional burdens are added in the form of 24/7 childcare, gender stereotypes, and domestic violence. Women’s problems seem to be erased from the agenda, they become less visible and significant. And it is critically important to make the aid stable and permanent.
My personal dream and goal at the same time is to make the life of Ukrainian women safer and more comfortable. I believe that it is women who should be leaders and proactive actors to achieve peace and ensure equality, rights and freedoms. According to international organizations, the involvement of women in peace negotiations and post-war reconstruction leads to more effective peace and consideration of the needs of women and children during the renewal, which is an investment in the future. Before the war, women have proved their effectiveness in these processes, and now they are proving it even more. The humanitarian and social spheres depend on them. But they need support, a loud voice and active involvement in all processes.
Women’s participation is the path to equality, a democratic society and life chances for other generations. I will continue to advocate these ideas, explore the issues of women in war and share them and their possible solutions with a wider audience. In Так. Це Штаб (Yes. It is headquarters) we will also expand the aid for women - our task is to make women more educated and economically independent, so we will collect such opportunities for women and share them with women.