Women Activism in Russia


WomenActivism in Russia



Thequote from the introduction

Myapproach to forging an alternative kind of gendered interventioninvolved using and adapting participatory action research (PAR) in mywork with the provincial feminist group Zhenskii Svet ” (Hemment,2007).

Hemmentexplores a different approach towards the empowerment of the Russianwomen and understanding how they relate to foreign women’s rightsorganizations. While the purpose of the book is to explore therelationship between the foreign organizations and the Russianwomen`s groups, Hemment explores the contexts that local women faced.Hemment seeks to understand their environment and comprehend thedynamics of feminism in the country and how the feminist movementswere influenced by foreigners. Therefore, she uses the participativeapproach by joining the Zhenskii Svet group whose name means Women’sLight. By doing this, Hemment shows that international foundationsshould do more to interact with Russian women, than just support themfinancially.

Thequote from chapter 2

Instate socialism, gender regime was not politicized as it is inliberal democracies: crucially, there was no perception of genderdiscrimination” (Hemment, 2007).

Thestatement indicates the main difference between the human rightsenvironment in foreign countries and in the Russian scene. Whileforeign countries are sensitive to the rights of women, the Russianstate socialism was not vocal in voicing the concerns of women.Therefore, gender discrimination was prevalent and was not exposeddue to the lack of concern and democratic space. Therefore, thedifference should inform the type of approach that feminists shouldexplore and adopt in their quest to promote women`s groups in Russia.According to Hemment (2007), adoption of a participative approach wasappropriate in the Zhenskii Svet as it gave a chance to understandthe environment and relate to Russian women better.



Thecivil society is a term used to refer to a number of organizationsthat operate to stand for the rights of people as observed by thestate. Civil societies entail every person who is keen on ensuringthat the government of the day respects and upholds the rights of thecitizens. In regard to the rights of women in Russia, the civilsocieties involve the non-governmental organizations, community basedorganizations, women`s groups like the Zhenskii Svet and theinternational organizations. According to Hemment (2007), civilsocieties form an integral part of helping the women`s rights groupsto fight for their rights. Hemment (2007) cites Sarah Henderson whileexploring the dynamics that shape the democratic space of the civilsociety in Russia. According to Henderson (2003), civil societies arepowerful in the process of overcoming the challenges faced by womenand promoting their rights.

Theactivities of the civil societies provide the basis for understandingthe level of the democratic space in Russia and the extent of successthat women`s rights groups should anticipate. Therefore, in theirquest to promote the rights of women in Russia, internationalfoundations should explore the role of the civil societies in thecountry. This will prevent certain constraints that civil societiesface due to limitations in the country related to democratic space.According to Henderson (2003), donor efforts by foreign organizationsand domestic activists can also face the constraints of civilsocieties. Therefore, understanding the civil society environments inRussia and factors that affect them is important in streamlining therelationship between international foundations and Russian women`sgroups.


Hemment,J. (2007). EmpoweringWomen in Russia. Activism, Aid and NGOs.Indiana: Indiana University Press

Henderson,S. (2003). BuildingDemocracy in Contemporary Russia: Western Support for GrassrootsOrganizations.New York: Cornell University Press

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