Women have largely been excluded as peace negotiators in the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Two women, Iryna Gerashchenko and Olga Ajvazovska, joined Ukraine’s delegation to the Minsk peace talks in 2014 and 2015; Russia sent an all-male delegation. Heidi Tagliavini, representing the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and Angela Merkel, then-chancellor of Germany, were present in mediation and third-party roles. Women have not played a meaningful role in the intermittent peace talks that have taken place since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Since joining the 2013 Euromaidan protest movement in large numbers, which began when then-Ukranian president Victor Yanukovych elected to strengthen ties with Russia instead of the European Union, women have played a powerful role in Ukrainian civil society and spearheaded relief efforts. Women-led organizations continue to help fund and supply the Ukrainian military; provide medical care, food, and social services to the large internally displaced population; and have facilitated dialogues between ethnic Ukrainian and Russian groups on the margins of formal negotiations. They have also worked to document atrocities committed by Russian forces.