Women and Russia’s War on Ukraine

March 14, 2022

Olga Boichak, Christina Olha Jarymowycz, Tamara Martsenyuk, Olena Nikolayenko, Jessica Zychowicz

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The roundtable will discuss women’s experiences of war and women’s activism in contemporary Ukraine. In addition, panelists will examine ways in which the international community can alleviate human suffering in the war-torn country.

Olga Boichak is a Lecturer in Digital Cultures at the Department of Media and Communications, University of Sydney. She is a sociologist with expertise in computational social science, and her research interests span networks, narratives, and cultures of activism in the digital age. Before joining the University of Sydney in 2019, Olga was a visiting scholar at Ryerson University (Canada) and a research assistant at the Center for Computational and Data Sciences (Syracuse University, USA), where she contributed to the development of tools and analytic techniques that support social listening, bot detection, information literacy, and decision-making in complex scenarios. Prior to becoming an academic, she managed political campaigns in Ukraine and ran the Centre for Public Opinion Research (2005-2015), as well as served as Ukraine’s youth delegate to the United Nations (2014). Her work has appeared, among others, in Big Data & Society, International Journal of Communication, Media, War & Conflict, Global Networks, and the Oxford Handbook of Sociology and Digital Media. 

Christina Olha Jarymowycz is a scholar with research interests in gender and agency, transnational feminism, gendered embodiment, and postsocialism. She holds a doctorate in Sociology from Boston University and a master’s degree in Regional Studies – Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia from Harvard University. Currently, Dr. Jarymowycz is working as a researcher at Harvard Business School, where she studies investors and companies that seek to generate social benefit alongside financial profit.

Tamara Martsenyuk is an Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology, National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (Ukraine) and the 2017-2018 Fulbright Scholar at the Harriman Institute, Columbia University. Dr. Martsenyuk holds a Ph.D. (Candidate of Sciences) in Sociology. She is the author of over 100 articles, book chapters, and textbook chapters. For her outstanding contributions to research in social sciences, Dr. Martsenyuk received the 2020 Petro Mohyla Prize annually awarded to distinguished faculty at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. She is engaged in educational activism and conducts trainings for a wide target audience: journalists, think tanks, civil servants, politicians, civic activists, and more. Dr. Martsenyuk embraces the idea of public sociology – science and research for the sake of social change and is therefore constantly involved in various research or teaching projects. Her research interests include gender and social structure, among them women’s access to the military. In 2021 Dr. Martsenyuk (with the research team) conducted a research project, titled “Invisible Battalion 3.0: Sexual Harassment in the Military.”

Olena Nikolayenko is a Professor of Political Science at Fordham University. Originally from Ukraine, she received her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Toronto and held visiting appointments at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University, the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies at Princeton University,  the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law at Stanford University, the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (Germany), and the Department of Sociology at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (Ukraine). Her research interests include comparative democratization, contentious politics, women’s activism, and youth, with a regional focus on Eastern Europe. Her recent book, Youth Movements and Elections in Eastern Europe (Cambridge University Press 2017), examined tactical interactions between nonviolent youth movements and incumbent governments in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Serbia, and Ukraine. Her current research focuses on women’s activism in Belarus and Ukraine. She currently serves as the chair of the communications committee at the Shevchenko Scientific Society in the United States.

Jessica Zychowicz is the Director of Fulbright Ukraine & IIE: Institute of International Education, Kyiv Office. She recently published her monograph, Superfluous Women: Art, Feminism, and Revolution in Twenty-First Century Ukraine (University of Toronto Press 2020). In 2017-2018 Dr. Zychowicz was a U.S. Fulbright Scholar to Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, where she taught courses in visual sociology, gender, and conducted interviews and archival research toward her second book. She has authored numerous articles on gender, human rights, revolution and protest in postcommunism. She has also been a Research Fellow at the University of Toronto Munk School of Global Affairs (2015-2016); a Visiting Scholar at Uppsala University’s Institute for Russian and East European Studies in Sweden (Fall 2019); and a Visiting Scholar as the 2018-2021 Stasiuk Fellow of the University of Alberta in the Contemporary Ukraine Studies Program (CUSP). Dr. Zychowicz is a Board Member of the Association for Women in Slavic Studies (AWSS), an Advisory Board member of H-Net H-Ukraine, and is a founding co-editor of the Forum for Race and Postcolonialism at Krytyka.com. She earned her doctorate at the University of Michigan and holds a degree in English literature from U.C. Berkeley. For more information: https://www.jes-zychowicz.com/.