Ukraine allows women to join the military, but this has changed from history where they could only act in non-combatant roles such as cooking, offering medical care, and accountancy. The tradition of barring women from active participation in military activities ended in July 2016, when they could actively engage in sniper roles, military scout, and machine-gunning. In the wake of the attack from Russia, activists worldwide have risen in defense of women and children, noting that they are generally weaker and will suffer the consequences of war the most. Interestingly, the Ukrainian women have proved their power and readiness to defend their country.
There is one case of a woman being hailed on social media for confronting a heavily armed Russian soldier head-on. She offers him sunflower seeds to put in his pocket to grow sunflowers when he dies because she assures him of dying in the Ukraine soil. ‘You’re occupants, you’re fascists,’ she shouts, standing about a meter from the soldier.
‘Take these seeds and put them in your pockets so at least sunflowers will grow when you all lie down here.’
A unit of Ukraine’s National Guard is also holding combat training for civilians, and women are part of the civilians being recruited. The image below shows an image of a young woman being trained for combat in the unit.
The former miss Ukraine, Anastasiia Lenna, has also demonstrated active participation in protecting her country. One of Lenna’s most recent posts depicted her wearing protective goggles, a black jacket, and khaki pants.
She also cradled what looked like an assault-style weapon. She hashtagged the photo, #handsoffukraine.
This photograph was as carefully staged as the others — a pageant winner knows how to find her good lighting whether she’s holding roses or guns — but that only made the symbolism of the image even starker: The beauty queens have taken up arms. Although her critics may question whether her rife is real and that this could be a piece of sporting equipment, the fact remains that the image is symbolic. It is a call to arms, and many other women must have literally heeded the call and started to join the combat training to assist the military in defending their country. It’s hard to write about women fighting in Ukraine, a topic of interest to many news outlets, and not get a little too golly-gee about it or miss the point entirely. What is the point here? Are we saying it’s shocking that women might love their country as much as men do? Are we saying women should be praised more than men for placing themselves in bodily harm? No and no. In any case, women fighting in deadly battles is the darkest sort of feminism: Nobody wants gender equality in war because nobody wants war.
Ukrainian women have been caught in cameras preparing explosives to attack the Russian forces. They are taking significant actions that show their willingness and readiness to take equal and active roles in defending their country rather than freeing refugees with children from their own soil.