August 28th – 31st 2018


About the conference

In the last years (2014-2017) Ukraine has witnessed to a growth of civil society on various levels, including gender equality and participation. In fact, participation in the Maidan protests increased civic and political awareness and agency among women. Almost in equal numbers men and women participated in the Maidan movement. The roles of women were manifold: some of them were engaged in supportive tasks like kitchen work and cleaning; sorting donated clothes, food, and medication; coordinating logistics; and writing press reports. Significantly, women were also active in riskier situations such as on-site doctors and nurses, on-the-scene journalists and photographers, and lawyers for arrested protesters. When the protests turned more violent, women were excluded from the barricades. Nevertheless, some female protesters still joined the clashes and prepared Molotov cocktails and even threw them themselves. Furthermore, three Zhinocha Sotnias (Women’s Squads) were organized on Maidan. In April of 2014 when began a military Russian-Ukrainian conflict in the East of Ukraine this fact sharpened the controversial yet prominent role of women in military actions. Ukrainian Military Law limits women’s access to a variety of military specialties. However, this recent military violent conflict led to an inclusion of women in the military services, previously restricted for various reasons. More than a thousand women joined the Ukrainian Armed Forces as well as volunteer battalions as of October 2015. Hundreds of women have left their daily duties and began to volunteer as well as to serve as paramedics and doctors in the zone of armed conflict, risking their lives to ensure efficiency and combat readiness of military units. Importantly to note, in military conflicts civilians, especially women, have become targets of violence and ethnic cleansings. At the same time, women have become active negotiators in bringing the conflict to an end, facilitators of overcoming societal prejudices and active players in establishing peace.

We invite women in theological and religious research to discuss the multiplicity of women’s experience in situations of war and violence and to learn from these experiences; to ask to what religious and spiritual resources do women refer regarding warfare and peacebuilding; to discuss what are the essential elements for a theology of peacebuilding; to explore the religious and spiritual practices (rituals, devotions, prayers, pilgrimages etc) that have emerged or have been rediscovered and transformed as women’s responses to warfare and post-conflict suffering; to analyze why women become victims of violence; to look for insights from personal stories; to challenge the notion that war and peacemaking is men’s domain; to debate how to promote women’s role in peacebuilding processes and how to empower women to become equal partners in peace processes; to reframe our understanding of modern warfare and women’s roles in it.