On March 8, the women’s solidarity march took place in Kharkiv for the sixth time. This year it was dedicated to female healthcare workers who are fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
About 300 participants marched along Sumska Street from Maidan Svobody (Ukrainian: Freedom Square) to Maidan Konstytutsii (Ukrainian: Constitution Square). They carried posters and chanted slogans “Domestic violence is not an example for a child,” “Sex – yes, sexism – no,” “Sisters and brothers are equal in the struggle.” The motley column was headed by women with a poster: “Free Woman – Free Country.”
Many women who joined the march were dressed in a thematic fashion: a housewife, a pensioner, a janitor, a cleaner and a teacher. Some of the marchers were wearing white coats to remind people that many female doctors and nurses were affected during the pandemic.
“Today we are talking about women who perform socially important, often ‘invisible’ and low-paid work during the pandemic. We also support Polish women in the fight for the right to their own bodies, oppose political pranks against women and condemn any gender-based violence,” Anna Sharyhina, the event co-organizer, commented on the goals of the march.
A volunteer and a march participant Tetiana emphasized that in some aspects Ukraine has already achieved greater gender equality than other countries.
“But, nevertheless, we still have moral condemnations of women. For example, if a woman is raped people typically consider it’s her fault. Our women can hardly leave the house without makeup because they are afraid of condemnation. And all these stereotypes ruin lives. Women constantly think they owe something to someone. And I joined the march to show that there are many of us. There are many of those who gain equality,” Tetiana notes.
As opposed to this march, male activists of Traditions and Order right-wing organization went on the opposition rally. They believe that women have long had all the necessary rights. This year young men raised money to support women struggling with the pandemic. According to the rally participants, they were able to collect about 800 UAH (about $30).
After the march, the men visited one of the Kharkiv clinics where they gave several bouquets to healthcare workers.
Anastasiia Popova, a representative of the Sphere NGO and the manager of the Women’s Solidarity March project, noted that last year the event brought together about 800 participants, and this year there are fewer of them due to quarantine restrictions. However, they are all wearing masks and keep their distance.
Similar occurrences took place in Kyiv, Lviv, Odesa, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Dnipro, Poltava, Ivano-Frankivsks and Kramatorsk.
Text: Natalia Ivanova
Photo: times.kharkiv.ua, Traditions and Order, nakipelo.ua