Overcoming Gender Backlash

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We are honoured to present conference materials of the Second International Gender Workshop "Overcoming Gender Backlash: Experiences of Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Georgia, Armenia and Poland" organized and hosted by the Kyiv office in October 2013.  In this publication you shall find analyses focused on gender education, LGBT issues, as well as sexual and reproductive health and rights of women in the respective countries.

Regardless of regional differences, the common tendencies for all six countries have recently become the rise of religion and nationalism that have threatened the achievements of feminist and LGBT-movements and have been pulling the societies backwards. These two tendencies are interwoven and strengthen each other – religion is almost the strongest constituent of the revived mythologized national identities, and in turn, the rhetoric of ‘tradition’ gives religious practices more stable and eternal ground. In the light of economic crisis the states readily support and often use these arguments attempting to divert people’s attention with the help of ‘moral panic’ and offering to search for a ‘scapegoat’.

The latter role is traditionally offered to LGBT people and women, that are also the primary targets of bringing sexual and gender relations in the society to a certain ‘norm’, easy to manipulate. Thus, the participants of the workshop attempted to describe the connection between religion, nationalism and gender in their countries by uncovering the reasons for the backlash and analyze the influence of these tendencies on  shaping the ‘norm’ through regulation of sexual and gender behavior.

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• Sexual and reproductive health and rights of women in Armenia p. 6
Anna Nikoghosyan, Programs Director, Society Without Violence NGO, Armenia
• One step forward, two steps back:: discussions on sexual / reproductive rights in Belarus p. 10
Tatsiana Shchurko, sociologist, independent researcher, feminist activist (Gender Route, FROG)
• Reproductive and sexual rights of different groups of Russian population p. 20
Olga Isupova, senior researcher, Institute of demography of Higher School of Economics
• Assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) and the nationalistic discourse in contemporary Poland p. 26
Elżbieta Korolczuk, sociologist, Södertörn University and Gender Studies at University of Warsaw, feminist activist, member of “Women’s 8th of March Alliance”.

• Feminist pedagogical experience: talking about gender in the third sector in Belarus p. 34
Elena Minchenia, Gender researcher, lecturer, Centre for Gender Studies, European Humanities University (Vilnius, Lithuania)
• Gender and education / Gender education in Armenia p. 37
Nonna Artushyan, Co-founder and trustee, Society Without Violence NGO, Armenia

• In between cultural traditions and reactionary threats: is gender education possible in Ukraine? p. 40
Oleg Maruschenko, expert of Krona Gender Center, editor of gender “Ya” journal, professor at the philosophy department of Kharkiv National Medical University
• Between gender studies and „gender ideology“. Gender education in post 1989 Poland p. 43
Magdalena Grabowska, sociologist, Warsaw University
• Gender roles in education in Georgia p. 52
Maia Barkaia, gender researcher.

• Pink triangle: LGBT as a symbolic figure of modern russian politics p. 55
Olga Burmakova, PhD student of Gender program European University in Saint-Petersburg, feminist activist
• Mainstreaming LBT issues in women’s rights agenda in Georgia: reality and challenges p. 60
Lily Mamulashvili, student of Psychology department in Tbilisi State University, queer feminist and LGBT Q activist, research assistant at WISG.