Woman in War: think tank for gendering armed conflict

Women and men experiencing revolutionary change 1917-2017
Conference organised by Women in War (Paris)
in partnership with the Democratic Development Centre (Kyiv)
and Southern Ukrainian National Pedagogical University (Odessa)

30th September — 1-2nd October 2017  Odessa, Ukraine

After Sarajevo in 2014, Beirut in 2015, Yerevan in 2016, the next annual international Women in War conference, to be held in Odessa in autumn of 2017, will explore different aspects of the social and political transformations in gender relations, especially the life of women, resulting from one century of revolutions. These will include uprising and revolts where women have played exceptional roles with major social consequences.

We have chosen to situate our next conference in Ukraine, a country which has historically challenged both the imposition and the legacy of Soviet rule, and today represents the most positive and advanced society for women’s rights in the post-Soviet bloc.

In this unique conference, we shall focus on women’s revolutionary experiences worldwide as influenced by the Soviet revolution of 1917, in order to establish commonalities and differences in terms of women’s participation and influence.

We are targetting four major areas of study:

1) States that have actually experienced a Communist regime, including the USSR, the entire East European bloc, China, Afghanistan, Cuba, People’s Republic of Mozambique, People’s Republic of Mozambique, South Yemen, North Vietnam, and Cambodia and others

2) Revolutionary Marxist militarized movements in non-Communist countries such as Mujeres Libres in 1930s’ Spain, anti-Nazi uprisings, PKK, Nepalese, Kashmiri, African, Sri Lankan and South American movements (FARC, Sendero Luminoso and others), up until today’s Mexican Chiapas and the Kurdish Rojava.

3) The place of women and sexual minorities in uprisings against Communist regimes in the entire Eastern bloc and Asia, as well as those following the fall of the USSR: the Orange and Euromaidan (Ukraine), Rose (Georgia), Jeans (Belarus), Tulip (Kyrgyztan), and Abkhazian revolutions.

4) World youth movements influenced by Communist ideology ; the role of women and LGBTI participation in civil rights ; students and revolutionary movements of the 1960s-70s- 80s (including R.A.F., Brigade Rosse).

In all these revolutionary configurations, we shall attempt to evaluate women’s long-term gains and losses in personal and collective empowerment, as well as their influence on gender relations.
The place of women and sexual minorities in hyper-masculinist military structures will also be examined, be they regular, paramilitary, combat or terrorist. Does the increasing presence of women in armies, in war or peacetime constitute revolutionary change? Does the growing military ethic contribute to or reduce the structural violence against women in these countries ?

This is where achievements in gender rights in recent, post-communist revolutions, in particular the whole of the Eastern bloc up till Central Asia, can be measured in relation to conventions penned by international organisations such as the UN (Resolution 1325, CEDAW and others) NATO, OSCE. Have these been effective in changing legislation, public service, popular and local culture? How do they compare with competing ideologies, especially the fast growing influence of religion, be it Orthodox, Catholic, or Muslim, especially in the context of globalization?

Aims and expected outcomes:
 to establish links between academia, NGOs, and public administration, resulting from the meeting of different specialists, researchers, militants, combatants, civil servants during this conference in view of charting practice-based future policies in post-revolutionary countries
 to bring together international scholars, politicians, and activists with feminist writers, artists and musicians working on these themes.
 to explore differences and commonalities in all fields under discussion, through panels organized on themes and methodology rather than geographic areas
 to establish the place of gender rights within revolutions over the course of the past century and to measure the real progress in women’s lives in countries which have experienced revolutions in terms of legislation, rights, public administration (national and local), reproductive health, and sexual violence
 to evaluate the place of women in revolutionary military and paramilitary
 to measure the influence of women’s place in revolutions and uprisings in official and unofficial culture, school texts, books, and the media
 to evaluate set-backs and disappointments following revolutionary processes

Who can apply
 Academics, including both faculty and graduate students
 Activists concentrating on gender issues
 Female combatants and members of military organizations
 Artists, writers, musicians

Proposals should be sent in English, Russian, or Ukrainian by April 2nd, 2017.
Length: not more than 300 words  Please include a short bio of no more than 50 words
Please indicate your name, affiliation if relevant, and the title of your paper
Please include your name in the subject line of your email together with the area concerned by proposal
You will hear back from us latest on May 15th.
 Send proposals and all questions to: info@womeninwar.org

The selection committee is made up of academics from Yale University (U.S.), University of Paris 8 (France), Hagazian University (Lebanon), Pedagogical Institute of Odessa and NAPA, Kyiv (Ukraine).

Dr. Carol Mann director of Women in War (Paris)
Ella Lamakh, Democratic Development Centre (Kyiv)