Global Roundup: Ukrainian Women Alone on Frontline of War, Senior Ottawa Women Dubbed ‘Heroes’ for Standing Up to Truckers, Mj Rodriguez Makes History as 1st Trans Woman to win Golden Globe
Curated by FG Intern Sayge Urban
Vera, 94, lives on the front line in Marinka, a town in eastern Ukraine separated by the front line in the suburbs of Donetsk. Shortly after this photo was taken, Vera was found paralysed in her bed by a social worker of the NGO People In Need and has been in the hospital since. Guillaume Binet/MYOP/Al Jazeera
In eastern Ukraine, many single mothers and elderly women are surviving alone near the frontline of a war between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed eastern separatists that has killed an estimated 14,000 people since 2014. The United Nations says that 1.6 million of the 2.9 million people in need in the region are women.
The women on the front lines have lost their husbands to fighting or health problems. In this area of Ukraine, the only work men are able to find is in mining, which can lead to potentially detrimental health consequences, and possibly early death.
Many women find themselves in a similar situations to Ala Nikolaevna, 73, a blind woman living in the town of Chasiv Yar, a few kilometres from the front line.
My husband died of a heart attack and my only son has disappeared. In my family, I am now the only women left…When there is no heating, I put all my clothes on and pray. I have only one wish: that my son hugs me once again- Ala Nikolaevna
Alonya, 41, a social worker and volunteer brings Nikolaevna food three times a week. Out of the 12 people she works with on a weekly basis, 10 are women.
Since the war started, all the men joined the military or looked for work in other regions of Ukraine, and there are now mostly women living on the front line alone…The front line villages are full of single mothers and babushkas (grandmothers). - Alonya
In addition to the elderly, single mothers have also been deeply affected. Svetlana Putilina, 50, whose husband is a chaplain in the Ukrainian military, has been setting emergency plans for her family. She has been left to consider who will take the children to safety outside of the city, who will care for her elderly parents and grandparents as they journey to one of the hundreds of bomb shelters and what resistance the women will deploy.
In the government-controlled areas of Ukraine, 71 percent of heads of households are female. This share is even higher for those who are more than 60 years old, and reaches 88 percent. - Lizaveta Zhuk, a public information officer, U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
From left to right, Andrea Colbert, Lise Lebeau and Marika Morris. The trio stood up to a small convoy of vehicles that paraded through their residential street on Monday. (Stu Mills/CBC) via CBC
Social media users in Canada have applauded three senior women as “heroes” after they stood up to truck drivers who have taken over the downtown Ottawa area to protest a vaccine mandate for truckers crossing international borders.
A photograph of the three Ottawa residents—Lise Libeau, Andrea Colbert, and Marika Morris—standing in the path of truck drivers taking part in the “Freedom Convoy” has been circulating online. The truckers’ protest escalated to the point where trucks blocked every entrance and exit for emergency vehicles in the women’s neighbourhood, leaving residents feeling that “they don’t care if we live or die”.
Morris said she acted because she and her neighbours were fed up of the truckers.
I decided to get out in the streets in front of a big truck… because I felt powerless. By that point it was three days of non-stop honking, yelling. We can't think, we can't work, we can't study. -Marika Morris.
A resident who lives on the street where the women stood up to the truckers captured the standoff and posted it to social media.
They were doing what I think a lot of Ottawans wanted to do but were to afraid to do— stand up to the abuse of some of the protesters. I was very proud of them,” the resident who took the picture of the women.
Downtown Ottawa residents have had to endure blaring honks and the smell of diesel fuel stemming from an occupation of trucks and thousands of protesters that came to Ottawa in what began as opposition to mandatory vaccination for cross-border truckers — and has since evolved to include a range of opposition to COVID-19 public health measures.
Colbert said once the photo of the trio began circulating, she felt proud of their efforts.
We just decided we had enough, and we thought we'd make a statement, They're terrorizing our city…But that was scary. That's a huge truck...It's not easy to stand up to a bully. - Andrea Colbert
Since the commencement of the convoy, government officials have released minimal statements. Ontario Premier Doug Ford made a statement last week asking the truckers to move on and “let the people of Ottawa live”. In response to questioning regarding police control, the Chief of Ottawa Police said they have all options on the table in terms of clearing out the truckers.
Mj Rodriguez attends the 2019 MTV Movie and TV Awards at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, Calif., on June 15, 2019.Emma McIntyre / Getty Images for MTV file via NBC
Michaela Jaé “Mj” Rodriguez has made history as the first transgender woman to win a Golden Globe award. Rodriguez, who plays housemother and nurse Blanca on the FX show “Pose”, was nominated and won in Best Actress. It is not the first time she has made history.
In 2021, Rodriguez was the first transgender performer nominated for a lead acting Emmy. She did not win. Rodriguez’s co-stars had complained in 2020 that the Emmys had overlooked the shows’ Black transgender cast in its list of nominees that year. Pose has been hailed for having the largest trans cast in a scripted series.
“Something abt trans ppl not being honored on a show abt trans ppl who created a culture to honor ourselves bc the world doesn’t. Let’s call it cognitive cissonance”tweeted Indya Moore, who plays Angel Evangelista on Pose. - tweeted Indya Moore.
Rodriguez celebrated her win last month on Instagram.
Wow! You talking about a sickening birthday present! Thank you! This is the door that is going to open the door for many more young talented individuals. They will see that it is more than possible. They will see that a young Black Latina girl from Newark, New Jersey who had a dream, to change the minds of others would WITH LOVE. LOVE WINS. To my young LGBTQAI babes WE ARE HERE the door is now open now reach the stars!!!! - Mj Rodriguez
Sayge Urban (she/her) is a student at the University of Ottawa currently studying Psychology. She has a passion for writing and speaking out on issues she cares about and strongly believes in the power of words and the weight they hold. She is keen to use her voice and platform to bring awareness to the troubles and triumphs women face and is determined to use her voice to highlight those who cannot and do not have the resources to speak up.
Sayge is a firm believer in the unity of women across the world and the power they hold collectively and wants to use her time at FEMINIST GIANT to learn about the issues most pressing to women as well as they ways she can best be of help.