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European Women’s Lobby supports women’s NGOs in Ukraine

[Brussels, 25 March 2014]The situation in Ukraine has become particularly complicated in the past few months. Acknowledging this situation, the European Women’s Lobby addresses in an open letter women’s NGOs in Ukraine.

Re.: Support to women’s NGOs in Ukraine

Dear Friends,

I am writing you on behalf of the European Women’s Lobby, the largest umbrella organisation of women’s associations in Europe, gathering member organisations in 31 countries and 21 European-wide women’s organisations, to express our support to women’s NGOs in Ukraine.

We know your country is in a very difficult situation and as in every conflict, women, even if not on the barricades, are involved in the struggle but not included in the decision-making processes. At the moment, women who are visible in the conflict involve medical service, women demonstrating and protesting in the streets and public places, and of course many volunteers preparing food. On our tv screens we could see elderly women standing between Berkut (paramilitary forces) and the protesters successfully saving men who would otherwise be arrested or beaten; we could see a 21 year old woman shot in her neck while helping the wounded and today we saw wives of the military walking towards the Russians who were threatening them with machine guns.

It is of course unfortunate that women are not in the new government (as usual) although they are obviously at least as brave and wise as men. From a democratic perspective, it should be self-evident that women should take part in peace-making and peace-building processes. But, because of patriarchal structures, women have been historically excluded when issues of conflicts/wars and peace have been and are discussed.

We are hoping that the uncertain situation will prevent women from Ukraine and families from further pain and suffering and if you need specific support, please let us know.

In solidarity,

Pierrette Pape

Acting Coordination of the European Women’s Lobby

Photo via WURN - Radio Free Europe

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