Ukraine is currently under attack by Russia and Americans are looking for more ways to help than ever. Before diving into the great organizations that you can support, let’s take a brief look at the history of Ukraine and Russia and why this invasion is a feminist issue.
Back in 1991, Ukraine decided to become independent from the Soviet Union and sign their own declaration of independence. Russia was, of course, not happy with their newfound independence and wanted to regain control of this country. A couple decades later in 2013, former president, Viktor Yanukovych, decided to reject a deal which would have further integrated Ukraine into the European Union. The Ukrainian people had wanted to join the EU but their pro-Russia leader, Yanukovych, did not support this movement. Massive protests and riots broke out in Ukraine as the people fought back against their government. Yanukovych eventually fled and was exiled to Southern Russia.
Following these events, Russia decided to invade and annex a region of Ukraine, Crimea, in 2014. Since this event, Russia has been trying to find an opportunity to invade and fully take over Ukraine. Ukrainian people have been expecting this full-blown invasion and war for years now and now need our help.
So, why is the Ukraine invasion a feminist issue? Right now, eligible Ukrainian men are being called to fight for their country in the army. Many Ukrainian people have found it to be an honor to fight against Russia to save their home country. However, when Ukrainian men are called to the frontlines, their families are left behind. This is in a country which already has a history of demonstrable issue with gender discrimination wherein women are confined to traditional, patriarchal roles. Both Government and development partners persistently underinvest in gender equality or in programs that target women’s role in the governance, economy or in peace and security. Additionally gender based violence in the Ukraine is a balance of 90-10; said another way, 90% of gender based violence cases are against women. Families are being displaced and are facing additional burdens that cannot be fathomed by those who haven’t been in a war-torn situation.
Moreover, the issue doesn’t stop solely at gender. NPR reported on March 4th that LGBTQ+ people trying to leave the Ukraine are being denied entry in surrounding countries on the basis of their sexuality, or their gender (trans people don’t have identification documents that don’t correspond with their actual gender, just what they were assigned to at birth), and are heading towards countries that have been previously attacked for their anti-gay laws. Vox reported on March 5th about the compounding issues faced by immigrants of color who are leaving the Ukraine but face real discrimination at the border to neighboring nations due to intersecting and complex issues that can’t be distilled into a sentence here – highly recommend reading the linked Vox article. The intersectional issues faced by Ukrainians are some that demand attention and below are a few places where you can donate to help people during this devastating time:
If you want to help with medical supplies and critical resources:
International Rescue Committee is an international organization that supports people dealing with humanitarian crises. Right now, they are raising money to help send vital supplies and resources to displaced Ukrainian people and families.
Razom for Ukraine has been helping support Ukraine and their effort with supporting democracy and has now shifted towards supplying Ukrainian people with medical supplies. “Razom” means “together” in Ukrainian and has focused on uplifting the voices of its people.
If you want to focus on helping children:
Voices of Children focuses on supporting children and their psychological state as they endure an ongoing war. The trauma of conflict can have lifelong effects on children and this organization aims to help those enduring war with psychological assistance as well as evacuation support.
If you want to help the media:
Kyiv Independent is a media outlet from Ukraine that reports news about Eastern Europe. The news outlet was launched merely 3 months ago and it’s crucial that Ukrainian people continue to have a voice and opportunity to share the truth. You can donate to this GoFundMe page that supports keeping the Kyiv Independent up and running.
If you want a general place to donate that will support Ukrainians, especially women and girls:
CARE is an international nonprofit that has a mission to end poverty. They provide food, water, shelter, education and healthcare for those who need it most, with a focus on women and girls. Right now, they are helping send support kits including food, water and hygiene supplies to Ukrainian families. You can donate here.
If you want a list of places to donate that support immigrants of color as well as LGBTQ+ folks:
We’re going to link to an article written by James Factora at Them which has rounded this up beautifully.