Yesterday, Marta Havryshko told us about the history of women
in the Ukrainian underground and the types of gender-based violence they were exposed to. Today she wants to describe the situation of women serving in Donbas today.
In 2015 there were 15,551 women in the army, and today there's over twenty five thousand. Ten percent of the forces overall. 2916 are officers, seventy of which are colonels. No generals yet. More than 7000 women are considered veterans of military operations (a status that comes with legal benefits). This is a complicated set of facts for the feminist movement – on the one hand, some activists are aiming for greater representation of women in uniform. On the other, some say that we, as feminists, need to be resisting war altogether. So they work against recruitment efforts to get women into the army.
About those recruitment campaigns – when Marta shows them to us, they're mostly posters of elegant women in uniform, flowers in their hair. Or flowers in the wind. Or flowers close to the guns. Or no guns at all. Even when women are being trained to kill (or to help those who kill), they're still expected to perform traditional embodiments of beauty and purity.