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International Women’s Day 2022

"Those who heal, save and feed"

As we mark International Women's Day we recognise the courage, struggles and sacrifices of all women in Ukrainia.  

 Baby born in Starobilsk Multidisciplinary Hospital

In the days since Russia launched a military offensive in Ukraine, the world has seen videos and photographs of women taking up arms, grandmas making Molotov cocktails , mothers giving birth in underground metro stations, and many more women making terrifying journeys to find safety for their families.

An estimated 80,000 women will give birth in the next three months in Ukraine – many of them without access to critical maternal health care. For some, childbirth will be a life-threatening rather than a life-changing experience.

“Nobody thought this is how we would spend our weekend,” a teacher from the town of Dnipro told a cameraman as she and her neighbours made Molotov cocktails.

“I planned to plant tulips and daffodils on my backyard today. Instead, I learn to fire arms and get ready for the next night of attacks on Kyiv,” tweeted Kira Rudik, a Ukrainian member of parliament.

“I am not a military, just a woman, just normal human,” wrote Anastasiia Lenna on her most recent post. “Just a person, like all people of my country.”

On international women’s day we might want to recognise the way Ukrainian women are telling the stories of their willingness to fight. The messages these women are conveying is not, 'we are spoiling for a fight' but 'we would have done anything not to fight, and yet here we are.' These gentle gardeners are not wallflowers.

Olena Zelenska, the wife of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, is using social media to share images of women in various roles She has praised women volunteering and those who are continuing to make sure "life goes on and wins" by doing their usual work in pharmacies, shops, transportation and public offices. The First lady praises 'incredible' women who are the 'face' of the resistance, she expressed her "admiration" for the women fighting in the armed forces, those who enlisted in the defence and "those who heal, save and feed".

Photo credit
Ukrainian Great Grandmother Valentyna Konstantynovska undergoing combat training

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