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Belarus Insights #4 – "The regime did not take us women seriously"


The Belarusian constitution was not made for women – this is a statement of Lukashenka before the 2020 elections. The participation of countless women in the demonstrations proved him wrong. But what is the situation of Belarusian women today?

Women in white dresses, with white-red-white flags around their shoulders, holding flowers – when thinking about the protests following the fraudulent presidential elections in Belarus in summer 2020, these are probably the images that come to mind. However, Belarusian women were an important part of civil society even before the protests: especially in the field of environmental and climate protection, they made their mark by founding and shaping various initiatives. As in other countries, women in Belarus are particularly affected by the negative consequences of the climate crisis and environmental pollution.

In 2020, women supported the election campaigns of opposition activists, helped organize demonstrations and are still taking care of imprisoned relatives today. In some cases, they are paying a high price for this, as the regime is doing everything it can to intimidate and silence them.

Did the 2020 protests have a feminist agenda? What role do women play in environmental initiatives in Belarus? What is the state of gender equality in Belarus today?

With Alena and Maria, fellows of the IEP project "VisiBYlity for Belarusian Democratic Actors," we talk about women in Belarusian society, the link between climate and gender justice, and the repression women face because of their activism in this episode of “Belarus Insights - Einblicke von außen”.

Alena works as a gender expert and co-organizer of Fem Group Belarus. Maria is an environmental manager and a gender researcher in NGOs for climate and environmental protection.

Host: Laura Worsch – Research Associate at the IEP

The podcast was produced in cooperation with PODCAST.EINS. All podcast episodes are also available here:

Team & authors

About the VisiBYlity for Belarusian democratic actors project: Capacity building, advocacy and research for more attention for the Belarusian diaspora in the German and European public: these are the core contents of VisiBYlity.

Image copyright: IEP