Women in the Public Spaces: when Personal becomes Political

5th International Gender Workshop

“After attending the International Gender Workshop in 2014, I started to realize that I was a feminist. Before, I did not identify myself as one. The opening of the format of workshops for a wider public widens perspectives, because these workshops are shaping persons.” Anna Arganashvili, Partnership for Human Rights, Georgia

The 5th International Gender Workshop “Women in the Public Spaces: when Personal Becomes Political” was hosted by the Tbilisi office of the Heinrich Boell Foundation during March 2-4, 2016. The cycle of workshops took its start since 2012 and was jointly organized by the international offices of the Heinrich Böll Foundation. As the workshop previously organized in Tbilisi, Kyiv, Berlin and Warsaw had a more closed format, this year we decided to open our event for all interested parties.

Besides the moderated panel discussion sessions, guests were invited on a Feminist Tour in Tbilisi, which included 4 destinations and focused on women herstories connected to these places.

Side events included exhibition of artist Victoria Lomasko “Feminist Trip to Dagestan-Kirghizstan-Yerevan-Tbilisi”, which was organized at the Goethe Institute (March 3, 2016). The exhibition featured the initial stage of a large-scale project – it constituted a series of trips around the post-Soviet space, the key research topics of which were the following: gender issues (women’s rights, attitudes towards LGBT persons), interethnic relations, various forms of grassroots initiatives and activism. Women representing a variety of social environments are the main protagonists of the graphic reports Lomasko produced during her visits. Exhibition also included works produced by the participants of the “Feminist Stencil Workshop”, which was conducted by Victoria a week prior to the event.

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The event was followed by a public discussion “Women in Arts or Women’s Art?” moderated by the director of the Heinrich Boell Foundation South Caucasus Regional Office, Nino Lejava. The speakers were: Victoria Lomasko (Artist, Russia), Sophia Kilassonia (Art Critic, Georgia), Lia Ukleba (Artist, Georgia), Teo Khatiashvili (Art Critic, Georgia).

Another side event, public lecture by lawyer Ulrike Schulz “Sexism in LAW – The impact of Gender Stereotypes on Legal Proceedings” was organized at the Ilia State University (March 4, 2016). The lecture focused on gender stereotypes embedded in legal rules, which still continue to influence law making.

“We are thankful for organizing such en enlightening workshop. And now we want to ask you: what WE can do for you?” – asked Milota Sidorova during the final round of evaluations. Sure, the contribution to the workshop was invaluable, but as a response to the question - participants were asked again to submit papers based on the presentations, which is planned to be published as a printed book during 2016.

The main program of the workshop was very diverse and covered range of topics, like:


Panel I: Spaces for Modern Feminist Activism. Moderator: Etuna Nogaideli, Heinrich Böll Foundation South Caucasus.

  • Image removed.Why feminism today needs intersectionality? - Natia Gvianishvili, Director of Women’s Initiatives Supporting Group (WISG), Georgia.
  • Feminism and Russian media: personal experience and observations - Bella Rapoport, Feminist Journalist, Russia.
  • Watching movies, establishing language: reinforcement of LGBTQ communities in Minsk -Andrei Karpeka, Co-coordinator of Meta-queer Fest in Minsk, Belarus.
  • Targeting gender issues in media - Iryna Slavinska, Journalist, Ukraine.

Panel II: Transforming Feminist Agenda into Politics. Moderator: Gert Röhrborn, Heinrich Böll Foundation Poland

Panel III: Feminist Debates in Academic Spaces. Moderator: Irina Kosterina, Heinrich Böll Foundation Russia.

Panel IV: Gender Equality in Law: Experience and Challenges. Moderator: Tamara Gurchiani, Lawyer, Georgia.

Panel VI: Mobilization of Women’s Groups: Challenges and Setbacks. Moderator: Anna Dovgopol, Heinrich Böll Foundation Ukraine.