Females are on the front lines of the conflict in Ukraine, adding their talents and fighting spirit to the resistance as they defend their country on this International Womens’ Day in 2022.
After women have won so many rights around the world, particularly in the West, they still face enormous discrimination elsewhere, particularly these days in Afghanistan, where they are even being sold by their parents amidst crushing poverty.
But females enjoy full rights in Europe; and accordingly, women in Ukraine are taking on many of the responsibilities that usually only men assume — including combat — in the desperate defense of their homeland in the face of the Russian invasion.
International Womens Day celebrated as females fight for Ukraine on the front lines
Alona Bushynska, a cosmetologist, has taken up a position on a blocked-off street as just one of the many females who are volunteers fighting in the territorial army. She explains in an interview with the BBC “Nine days ago I was a teacher about makeup. I worked with students and showed them how to do makeup and everything was very peaceful.”
Looking up apprehensively into the skies as the reports of bombs resounded in the distance, she then returns to her narrative with the BBC reporter.
“Does that worry you, hearing sounds like that?” the reporter asks the female fighter incredulously. “No, it’s OK, it’s normal for me,” Bushynska replies, adding “It’s like, no fear. I don’t feel anything inside.”
Learn more: The Ancient World was Full of Female Warriors
Zelensky: “If you can stop and destroy the occupiers, do it”
Meanwhile a friend and compatriot of hers, Svetlana Kalanova, a graduate in biochemistry studying for her masters degree, says simply, “I want to fight also. This is my country, this is my home. My family… everything is here. I want everything to be the way it was before.”
Ukraine’s Ambassador to the UN, Oksana Markarova, has been at the forefront of the diplomatic fight to defend her nation, constantly demanding — and often getting– more and more financial and humanitarian support for her people as the invasion continues.
Makarova told CBS’s Margaret Brennan on the news show Face the Nation, “I think Ukrainians have shown to all the world that we’re not going to stop and we’re not going to surrender. And we will defend our homes….Our brave men and women of the armed forces and all of the civilians who are stopping the enemy without weapons, even, will fight, and we need all of the support in order to sustain this fight.”
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Female UN Ambassador, Parliament members prominent in defense of country after Russian invasion
The completely bipartisan standing ovation for Markarova at President Biden’s state of the union address in Washington on March 1 was an overwhelming show of support for the Ukrainian people, as represented by this veteran female politician.
Other female Ukraine politicians are taking up arms themselves to defend their country on this International Womens Day, including Kira Rudik, a member of country’s Parliament, who remains in Kyiv as a representative and defender of her people — recently Rudik learned how to use a Kalashnikov rifle.
In addition, former Massachusetts State House worker Solomia Bobrovska, who now also serves in Ukraine’s parliament, has chosen to remain in Ukraine and will support her nation in any way necessary, she states.
“We must fight. And we will win.”
Meanwhile, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky continues to exhort all Ukrainians living abroad to return home and fight. “Every Ukrainian needs to remember one thing. If you can stop and destroy the occupiers, do it. All those who can return to Ukraine, come back to defend Ukraine. And then we will have a lot of work to defend it.”
No one will soon forget the scenes of a beautiful bride dressed in fatigues while wearing a lace-trimmed wedding veil marrying her husband, a fellow resistance fighter, on the front lines of the invasion this week. With military helmets held above their heads instead of crowns — as is usually the case in Orthodox wedding ceremonies — the images from the moving ceremony will not soon be forgotten.
They also perfectly sum up the real meaning of International Womens Day as women use their right to defend their country while being respected and honored for doing so.
A great many Ukrainian women — some of them with white hair — are now taking part in the fight for their country, learning how to shoot and make Molotov cocktails as they try to repel the invading Russian army, one of the most formidable in the world.
“If somebody gives me a weapon, I will fight,” declares Yulia Pelyukh-Korniichuk in an interview with the South China Morning Post. With a wry smile, she adds “I am not afraid. I can shoot. I will shoot all the Russian soldiers and other people who want bad for us. Bad for Ukraine, bad for my family… I have two children. They are now in Ukraine. I want to see my children, I want to see my mother.”
She says that she will join the Ukraine defense forces alongside her husband as soon as they return to their homeland from Germany.
Before she boards the bus to get back home, Pelyukh-Korniichuk concludes the interview by saying “We are Ukrainians. We are great people. We must believe in one another. We must help one another. We must fight. And we will win. I believe. I pray for win.”
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