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They are no longer an invisible battalion







 45:07 min


feminism, gender equality, war

ateryna was 21 years old when Russia started the war in Donbas in 2014. She wanted to contribute to the country's defence, but as a woman there were few opportunities for her to fulfil her ambitions in the army - according to the laws in force at the time, women were not allowed to take up combat positions, only traditionally “feminine” ones, such as warehouse managers, nurses, accountants and canteen managers. But they also fought on the frontline. They were just invisible.


When Russia launched a full-scale war in February 2022, there was no longer any question - women were joining the war with the same access as men. Change came earlier. They were triggered by the war and by the efforts of Kateryna and her like-minded colleagues to legally equalise the rights of women and men in the armed forces. But it is one thing to change the law, it is another to change people's minds.


A story from Ukraine about women who take up arms to defend their country and one more of their struggles - for equal rights.

Authors Ieva Balsiūnaitė, Sigita Vegytė

Animation Emilija Juzeliūnaitė

You can listen to more radio documentaries at LRT Radioteka

Ieva Balsiūnaitė

Journalist and documentary filmmaker based in Vilnius. Her previous projects include the documentary "Rolling Snowball to the South", which explores the relationship of Litvaks in the PAR with Lithuania. Other notable projects include a radio documentary (2022) about women in the Ukrainian army and a documentary about everyday life in the dark and cold as Russia attacks the country's energy infrastructure. In 2022, Ieva's radio documentary about Belarusian activists living in Lithuania won the main prize at the prestigious Czech radio festival "Prix Bohemia Radio". Ieva is currently working as a foreign news editor, journalist and special radio programmes presenter at Lithuanian National Radio and Television (LRT), where she continues to work in a multi-platform approach to human rights and socio-political issues. Ieva is also currently developing a full-length documentary film, "The Poor Cry Too" (with "Just a moment").

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Sigita Vegytė

LRT journalist and radio documentary producer. Her work focuses on socio-political issues, international relations, security and defence, highlighting human stories - she is interested in what people experience in liminal situations such as war. Her most recent works feature Russia's war against Ukraine and the migration crisis at the Belarusian/Lithuanian border. Sigita’s documentaries have been presented in many international festivals: Prix Europa, EBU International Feature Conference, Internazionale a Ferrara.

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