All ten stories of the Women's Leadership Stories Project became a revelation for me - Anton Drobovych

The Women’s Leadership Stories Project consists of ten stories about local women of the 19th and 20th centuries who tried to change the lives of other women for the better. The project was presented during the Fifth Ukrainian Women’s Congress.

It was initiated by the Ukrainian Women’s Congress NGO in partnership with the Ukrainian Women’s History Research Association.

“By the 30th anniversary of Ukrainian independence, we have decided to pay attention to local women who lived about a hundred years ago rather than discuss prominent female figures who are widely known,” UCU professor Oksana Kis said.

Project protagonists started their struggle hundred years ago, when they had limited resources and rights. They are different, they represent different ethnic and national groups, they all come from different backgrounds and share different views, but they all tried to help women to get stronger.

“Some of the names are brought up for the first time, even though they have changed history when they lived. We bring these names back to our Ukrainian history,” Oksana Kis said.

Sevgil Musayeva, editor-in-chief of Ukrayinska Pravda, said there is a lack of female figures in Ukrainian history. The head of the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory, Anton Drobovych, outlined two reasons for this phenomenon.

First, women’s experiences were often not documented and this is an obstacle for the research, he said. “I heard all ten stories for the first time and they became a revelation for me. Historians usually work with those materials that are preserved. But historically, there has been a habit of ignoring and not documenting what a woman said,” Anton Drobovych explained. Therefore, a historian should keep that in mind while developing a methodology.

The second reason why there are so few women in Ukrainian history, according to Anton Drobovych, is that women at that time did not always dare to fight for rights and equality.

On September 15-16, at the Ukrainian Women’s Congress, top state officials, Ukrainian and foreign MPs, representatives of international organizations, local governments, Ukrainian and foreign experts will take part in panel discussions.