Förändringsvindar för kvinnor i Södra Kaukasien

För sex år sedan lämnade Stina Magnusson Buur Georgiens huvudstad Tbilisi där hon jobbade som Kvinna till Kvinnas fältrepresentant för Södra Kaukasien. Nu när Stina är tillbaka, får hon anledning att känna både glädje och oro.  
En växande grupp unga kvinnor kallar sig för feminister i Georgien, något som var svårt att föreställa sig för 8 år sedan. Photo: Kvinna till Kvinna

En växande grupp unga kvinnor kallar sig för feminister i Georgien, något som var svårt att föreställa sig för 6 år sedan. En av de är juristen Tsiala Ratiani. Photo: Kvinna till Kvinna

Hela den gångna veckan har varit en nostalgisk tripp nerför memory lane. Det är sex år sedan jag lämnade Georgien. Veckan som gått har jag varit tillbaka och tillsammans med team och chefer jobbat med att planera Kvinna till Kvinnas arbete i Södra Kaukasien fem år framåt. Förutom att jag har träffat vänner som jag inte sett på flera år och ätit min vikt i georgisk mat.

Tbilisi är sig likt även om det ser lite annorlunda ut. Fasader är renoverade, parker uppiffade, det finns en gångbro över floden Mtkvari, ramper vid trottoarkanter, en budget-kopia av operahuset i Sydney som innehåller justitiedepartementet och en (fungerande!) linbana upp till fortet och botaniska trädgården.

Det finns automater utställda i olika gathörn där man kan betala sina räkningar. Det finns ett wifi-nätverk som – i teorin – täcker hela stan så att du alltid kan vara uppkopplad. (Nätverket heter ”Tbilisi loves you” vilket gör det upplagt för humor. Tbilisi är en nyckfull älskarinna, inget nytt på den fronten. I nio fall av tio borde nätverket heta: ”Tbilisi shows you her middle finger and goes back to sleep”.) Men ändå. I själ och hjärta är Tbilisi sig likt.

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V-day; One Billion Rising in Tbilisi

One billion rising event taking place in the heart of Tbilisi at the metro station Rustaveli on V-day; arranged by Women’s Fund of Georgia and Identoba.

“Dance is dangerous, joyous, sexual, holy, disruptive, contagious, it breaks the rules.
It can happen anywhere, anytime, with anyone and everyone, and it’s free.
Dancing insists we take up space, we go there together in community.
Dance joins us and pushes us to go further and that is why it’s at the center of ONE BILLION RISING.
” – Eve Ensler

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Security; Integrated!

On Friday we arranged a one day follow up workshop here in Tbilisi for the Young Women of South Caucasus who participated in the Integrated Security Workshop in Turkey in November 2012. We wanted to see where the participants are today; what did they manage to integrate in their personal lives as well as in their activism? Also Sandra Ljubinkovic; facilitator of our small follow up with several years of experience working with and developing the concept of Integrated Security Workshops, taught the participants some new methods.

So what happened in the three months since the workshop? All participants talked about that they had started thinking about their personal well being – that they were claiming more space for themselves; one participant said for New Year’s she and her mum had gone to massage instead of buying material things. Another one had started to go to the gym, a third one to eat healthier. Seemingly small things but they all make a big difference for the activists themselves; they feel less stressed and more relaxed. And not to forget; change takes time and energy (yourself as well as your organisation and your community); so it was very inspiring to see just how much the participants had been able to integrate in three months. I am impressed and inspired!

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Integrating Security in your activism

I and my colleague, Katarina Härröd, recently had the privilege to take part in an Integrated Security Workshop arranged for Young Women of South Caucasus in Turkey. It is really an interesting concept; to integrate security and to create the space for activists’ own safety and well being – to make activism sustainable on all levels (personal, organisational, community).

In my case the integrated security workshop took me back to my childhood; to the first burning memory of gender inequality; of being treated differently just because society defined me as a girl. It was not until much later I learned about feminism and started defining myself as a feminist, however the roots of my belief in feminism is to find at the age of 3 or 4, even before I could name it.

It also took me back to my teens; growing up in a world which dramatically changed with the end of the cold war which resulted in the outbreak of numerous of violent conflict (which we in Sweden unfortunately did not hear so much about – I learned more about the collapse of the Soviet Union much later in life).

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Young Women’s Chaos in Istanbul

I and my colleague Katarina Härröd have had the opportunity to take part in the meeting of Young Women’s Network of South Caucasus in Istanbul the last three days. From time to time it has been chaotic; strong feelings, problems, “aha” points in discovering similarities and differences, a mixture of languages and new friendships all mixed with a spirit of young activism and a sense that everything is possible.

Tomorrow we leave Istanbul to continue with a smaller group of young people to take part in an Integrated Security Workshop; the weather forecast says it will be cloudy, rainy and cold but we hope for a warm and cosy atmosphere within the group which will keep us warm and motivated for the rest of the week.

Drawings of the participants' expectationsTeambulding within the network