Emma Goldman awardee Dr. Shevtsova talks about Ukrainian anti-gender movements this Thursday

13.9.2022
Aleksanteri Visiting Fellow Maryna Shevtsova, a political scientist and human rights activist, has been awarded with the prestigious Emma Goldman Award for her devoted scholarly work on equality and LGBT themes in Eastern Europe. This Thursday Shevtsova, herself from Ukraine, will talk about her recent research on current Ukrainian anti-gender movement at Visiting Fellows Research Seminar.

Aleksanteri Institute's Visiting Fellow Dr. Maryna Shevtsova has lately been concentrating her interest on heteroactivist women who, one can argue, have themselves benefited from feminism and gender equality they are now vocally fighting against. After the Russian attack, the anti-gender movements in Ukraine have been less visible and harder to research but they are not completely unnoticeable.   

“Recently Yulia Tymochenko has added herself to my pool of research”, Shevtsova remarks. 

The idea behind the anti-gender rhetoric is that the West is promoting “gender theory” that opposes traditional local values and harms young people’s sexual development. The former prime minister used these arguments to oppose Ukraine’s ratification of Istanbul Convention against violence on women. Her reasons were probably populistic, Shevtsova notes. 

Mostly these kinds of statements are given by different far-right movements that can be found in different forms in most European countries as well as beyond. What Shevtsova is especially interested in, is how local political and historical layout is influencing Ukraine’s adaptation of the movement. 

“It is both interesting to compare how anti-gender movements resemble each other and how they differ.” 

The Emma Goldman Award was presented to Shevtsova and six other distinguished scholars by the Flax Foundation last week in Vienna. The award comes along with a grant that provides researchers working on feminist and inequality issues with time and flexibility to immerse themselves in their work. Shevtsova hopes to continue her work but perhaps with a larger geographic scope than the usual academic funding would allow. 

Next month Shevtsova will return to University of Ljubljana, where she works as EUTOPIA postdoctoral researcher and holds a position of a Visiting Professor at the Sociology Department. She continues her work on the Dnipro-based Ukrainian NGO Equal Opportunities and is active on initiatives helping researchers from Ukraine. Maryna will be returning to the Institute virtually as a speaker at the Aleksanteri Alumni Talk in October. The seminar will engage with challenges and problems that displaced Ukrainian scholars and students face and provide constructive discussions about the ways in which fellow scholars in Finland and in other countries can support Ukrainian academics.  

Thur 15 Sept 15-16.30 Aleksanteri Visiting Fellow Research Seminar
Speaker: Maryna Shevtsova | Chair: Marianna Muravyeva
Gen­der­ing Ukrain­ian Na­tion­al­ism Myth:
Anti-Gender Move­ments, Sexu­al­ity, and Re­li­gion in Ukraine

Venue: Zoom and onsite. Register here for the Zoom link.
Unioninkatu 40, Metsätalo (room information closer to the seminar)

Tue 4 Oct 15-16.15 Aleksanteri Alumni Talk
Speakers: Maryna Shevtsova and Mykhailo Romanov (TBC) | Moderator: Anna Korhonen
Scholarship in Exile: Challenges of Helping Ukrainian Academics and Scholars at Risk
Venue: Zoom seminar. Register your participiation here