Gender Studies and War Challenges in Resilience of Universities in Ukraine: Networking for Excellence in Teaching and Institutional Development

The international conference

The project will conclude on 16-17 of May 2024 by an international conference:

Gender Equality and Gender Studies at Universities: War, Peace and Development

The conference will bring together academics, activists, development workers from Ukraine, Sweden, Lithuania, Belarus, Georgia, to discuss various issues at the intersection of gender equality, war, peacebuilding, resistance and resilience.

Gender Equality and Gender Studies at Universities: War, Peace and Development

Registration form

Meeting-ID: 650 2791 6993
Passcode: 416384

  • Chair: Tamar Tskhadadze

    Participants: Andrei Vazyanau (EHU, Vilnius), Olena Strelnik (Munchen Techchnological University, Institute of Sociology, National Academu of Sciences of Ukraine) Olga Ivashchenko (Taras Shevchenko National Universoity of Kyiv), Tamta Tatarashvili (ISU, Tbilisi)

    Abstract Two years of the full-scale war in Ukraine have drastically reconfigured lived realities and imaginations of countless individuals and many societies in Europe and Black Sea region. Displacement and destruction wrought at such scale and so close in space has challenged earlier boundaries between the possible and the impossible, between peace and war, between internal matters and foreign affairs. It has reminded us of the fragility of the most basic of our securities but also has taught us many valuable lessons on resilience and solidarity. The war has also reconfigured previous struggles, including feminist struggles for gender justice and gender democracy, which had already been destabilized by worrisome trends throughout the globe: the rise of far right, conservative, anti-gender movements and authoritarian rulers, on the one hand; growing share of liberal intellectuals and centrist politicians voicing their gender skepticism, bemoaning that ‘gender has gone too far’ and blaming ‘wokes’ for the rise of far right, on the other hand. The war has had varied impact on these struggles in various contexts – in some, it shifted the focus and led to the suspension of gender equality politics, in others it created more fertile ground for anti-gender mobilization, and, perhaps, still in others it helped the cooptation of feminist struggles by illiberal governments. It also redrew and sharpened red lines dividing us and others, allies and adversaries, mournable bodies and the rest whose destruction can be met in silence. The panelists of the session will share their reflections on the state of gender politics at this grim juncture. They will discuss how the war has affected the agenda, strategies and tactics of struggles for gender equality in diverse but interconnected contexts of various nations and various communities

    Keynote 1: Andrea Petö (CEU) Illiberal memory politics of war and violence Edens hörsal, Allhelgona kyrkogata 14 Chair: Terese Anving

    Abstract: The talk discusses the definitions of illiberal memory politics and how illiberal memory politics utilize discourses of the Holocaust (memorial of Szenes) and sexual violence during wartime. It also offers examples of possible strategies to create alternative forms of memorialisations.

  • Chair: Almira Ousmanova.

    Round-Table Participants: Andrea Petö (CEU), Svitlana Babenko (LU), Tamar Tskhadadze (ISU), Olena Muradyan (KNU), Elena Gapova (WMU), Antonina Stebur (EHU), Olga Kyvliuk (EHU).

    Abstract The speakers of this panel will share their reflections on the state of gender studies in their countries and discuss how Russian war in Ukraine, along with neoconservative politics, militarization of a society, mass migration, caused by the war, anti-gender discourses have affected scholarly communities and their work. The discussion will evolve around the following questions:

    • How has war affected the priorities in the research agenda of gender scholars in Ukraine, neighboring countries and beyond?
    • What institutional challenges do gender scholars who work in the universities (being affected in direct or indirect ways by the war(s)), face with?
    • How has the demand for gender expertise in media and political sphere changed in your countries ( if applicable) since the beginning of war in Ukraine?
    • How effective is international support and solidarity of gender scholars in maintaining and developing gender research and educational programs in Ukraine?
    • What role does decolonizing of knowledge and languages play in transforming educational programs, research and publishing activities in the field of Gender Studies?
    • How have research opportunities and methods changed in respect to Gender Studies in the conditions of limited access to the field and archives while increasing the use of digital tools for data collection?
    • How have the war and its consequences affected the ethical standards of your own research or in your field?

    The round table is organized as a panel of 5-7 min presentations from each speaker, which will be followed by a Q&A where the audience can ask the panelists questions.

  • Chair: Terese Anving

    Round-Table Participants: Ellen Karlsson (LU), Inna Stepanets (KNU), Olena Muradyan(KNU), Tamar Gurchiani(ISU), Almira Ousmanova (EHU)


    The core of the discussion is about the universities’ different policies on anti-discrimination and implementation of gender equality plans and anti-discrimination strategies, and how to make such policies work in practice. All the partner universities have their own experiences and good practices to exchange and this round table is aimed at doing so. In Ukraine the strategy of gender equality was introduced under full-scale war conditions, resulting in Ukrainian universities and their human resource management facing new challenges under martial law. The crucial question to be discussed is how to improve gender equality and introduce such policies under war conditions. This panel will start with the following questions:

    • What are the experiences of the different partner universities in developing the gender equality and anti-discrimination policies for staff and students
    • What are the cases of discrimination, sexual harassment and gender inequality at the different universities? What strategies are used to resolve such cases? Round of best practices exchange.
    • What are the challenges and how can we improve the academic environment in our different universities?

    The round table is organized as a panel of 5-7 min presentations from each partner university focusing specifically on examples of good practice, and reflections on how to improve the implementation of gender equality plans / anti-discrimination strategies. The presentations will be followed by a Q&A where the audience can ask the panelists questions.

    Keynote 2: Olena Strelnyk ’Either fight or pay taxes’: Constructing citizenship in the context of war and its gender implications. Room R236

    Chair: Svitlana Babenko


    Almost two years after the start of Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine, on New Year's Eve, December 31, 2023, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivered a traditional 20-minute New Year's address, in which he called on Ukrainians to strengthen unity and intensify the struggle. He thanked all Ukrainians who "work and fight every day" and noted that to win "we must live by the rule: either you work or you fight." He also wished those who hesitate to choose: "Because I know that one day one will have to ask the question: who am I? Make a choice: who do I want to be? A victim or a winner? A refugee or a citizen?". I take this address as a starting point to think about how citizenship regimes in Ukraine have changed and might continue changing during the Russo-Ukraine war, from the perspective of gender. This Zelenskyy’s address illustrates how, in wartime, "worthy citizenship" is constructed around contributing to the state defense with the symbolic exclusion of those who cannot contribute to victory explicitly (e.g. women who are not employed and care for children, war refugees, and disabled people).

    My research question is how gendered citizenship is constructed in legislation and public discourse in Ukraine in the context of Russia’s full-scale war. My sources are laws as well as public statements, speeches, and interviews of the President, key officials, parliamentarians, and “opinion makers” related to mobilization and the roles of citizens in the context of war. I also employ elements of an intersectional approach, examining the construction of citizenship at the intersection of gender, class, and sexuality. Thematically, I focus on three topics: 1) the construction of the role of a male citizen (i.e. men’s near universal obligation for military service); 2) the construction of the role of a female citizen; 3) the issues of construction of the citizenship of LGBT soldiers and, in particular, on the issues of equal rights to marry.

  • Chair: Andrei Vazyanau

    Participants: Mariia Tyshchenko (NGO Poruch), Terese Anving (Lund University), Svitlana Babenko (Lund University), Olena Muradyan (KNU, Kharkiv), Tamar Tskhadadze (ISU, Tbilisi), Almira Ousmanova (EHU, Vilnius).


    The ongoing war poses serious challenges to activities in academia at large and value-driven spheres in particular. In different countries, these challenges are both economic and discursive in nature. In some cases we observe the eclipse of academic debate by populist speculations of politicians; in other, defunding of science is taking place. Gender studies, being a multidisciplinary area with a critical stance and potential for civic engagement, is among the most vulnerable subjects. In this context, cross-sectoral cooperation and consolidation of expert knowledge across sectors gains importance. The goal of the session is to discuss the prospects of support for projects in the domain of gender studies for Ukraine in the near future. Both academic and no-academic (NGO, state institutions) participants are invited to speak about their experience of finding resources, using opportunities, overcoming (or not) obstacles - in relation to their sphere of activity, interests and prospects for the further cooperation: funding opportunities, current calls and challenges to be addressed via our partnership.


This course aims to critically rethink gender studies within the frame of comparative approaches to war and peace with a regional focus on Russia's wars in Ukraine and in the post-USSR region.

The critical rethinking of teaching and learning Gender issues within the frame of comparative approaches to war and peace with a regional focus on Russia’s wars in Ukraine and in the post-USSR region. The course is developed as a cooperation between the network of the Gender studies researcher (Kyiv, Tbilisi, Vilnius, and Lund) in collaboration with scholars who work on the issues internationally, focused on supporting the network and debate between scholars in Ukraine and in exile due to full scaled russian war. The course is constructed as a set of modules that consists of recorded video lectures on topics by different scholars available online at the platform of the project after the project is finished; and as an online course in the academic year 2023-2024 presented a set of open guest lectures for students of partner universities (Kyiv, Kharkiv, Vilnius, Tbilisi, and Lund) that are given within the frame of current curriculum at each University, and open to join for students and scholars from the other partner universities. Upon successful completion of the course (attendance of 10 lectures minimum), students will be issued an international certificate of attendance.


    • Lund University (LU), Lund, Sweden
    • Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv (TSNUK), Kyiv, Ukraine
    • Ilia State University (ISU), Tbilisi, Georgia
    • V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University (KhNU), Kharkiv, Ukraine
    • European Humanities University (EHU), Vilnius, Lithuania
      with the support from the Swedish Institute.

The project partners are developing an online course to be offered to students of all partner universities:
Rethinking Gender, War, and Peace in XXIst Century: Ukraine in Comparative Perspective;

Over the period from November 2023 to March 2024, an international team of about 15 scholars will deliver lectures on topics such as gender and war, militarism, nationalism, violence, forced migration, feminist solidarity in times of war, Europeanization and geopolitics practices of resilience and resistance, etc.

Registration for the online course is available here.

Course participants will receive certificates from Lund University (top 100 universities in the world according to QS).

The lectures will be recorded and posted on the project website, to be available to all interested persons after the completion of the project.

Course program

This project is a component of the implementation of the gender strategy of the Karazin University and is aimed at ensuring equal rights and opportunities for all, preventing and countering any discrimination, which is the basis for overcoming the consequences of military actions and the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine.




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