“Rebel, Love, and Protect Your Rights”: Ukraine's Women’s Day March 2020
8 March, 2020
Women's March participants holding up a banner that reads 'Equality - Our Traditional Value' at the Women's March in Kyiv, Ukraine. March 8, 2020 Oleh Pavliuk / hromadske

In Kyiv on March 8, from Mykhailivska Square to Poshtova Square, hundreds of people marched in celebration of International Women’s Day. The Women’s March participants raised awareness of the necessity of ratifying the Istanbul Convention, which criminalizes domestic violence and violence against women as a whole. Participants also decried sexism and discrimination in the public sphere. They chanted slogans like “My body – my business” and “Rebel, love, and protect your rights!” among others. 

Participants of the Women’s March in Kyiv on Mykhailivska Square. Kyiv, Ukraine, March 8, 2020. Photo: Oleh Pavliuk / hromadske

“We’ve been fighting for centuries for the right to control our own bodies, to have the right to decide when to have children, how many, and who to marry. We’re women and we’re different, but we’re equal. And for some reason, in the year 2020, we still go to the center of the city with this sort of ‘security’ in order to say that we’re against violence,” explained one of the organizers of the march.

A police line separates participants of the Women’s March from the counter-protest “Women against abortion” in Kyiv, Ukraine. March 8, 2020. Photo: Oleh Pavliuk / hromadske

The March was overseen by what the Kyiv police said was “enough personnel from the subdepartments of the Kyiv police and military personnel from the National Guard of Ukraine.” The March passed without noteworthy incidents, despite the presence of counter-protesters at the start of the route.

Participants of the “Women against abortions” counter-protest in Kyiv on Mykhailivska Square. Kyiv, Ukraine, March 8, 2020. Photo: Oleh Pavliuk / hromadske

Similar marches were also held in the Ukrainian cities of Kharkiv, Kherson, Zaporizhia, and Lviv. 

Women's March in Lviv, Ukraine. March 8, 2020. Photo: Yarema Chuiko / hromadske