In addition to the political stagnation, gender stagnation continued in Belarus. Although gender discrimination is prohibited by law in the country, the World Bank says that Belarusian women are appointed to leadership positions two and a half times less often than men. And for doing the same job they are paid significantly less.
In the presidential administration, European women occupy leadership positions from time to time, but often, according to human rights activists, this is done to create the facade of a real situation, which is much sadder. But, despite this, it was women who became the engine of change during the thousands-strong protests in August 2020 after the presidential elections, the official results of which were not recognized by the EU and the UK.
Women's trio against the dictator.
When, before the last presidential elections, Lukashenka began to struggle with political rivals, an unprecedented protest movement led by three women emerged in Belarus. Two of them - Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and Veronika Tsepkalo - began to appear in public space when their husbands were banned from running. Later, Tikhanovskaya's husband was arrested along with another candidate, the banker Viktor Babariko. The head of Babariko's political campaign, Maria Kolesnikova, teamed up with Tikhanovskaya and Tsepkalo to defeat the "last dictator of Europe."
Together they created a campaign that reached across the country and instilled hope for democratic change. Although patriarchal sentiments were deeply rooted in the former Soviet country, Belarus warmly welcomed this women's trio. And Tikhanovskaya, who ran as an opposition candidate, began to be called “Belarusian Joan of Arc”.
In response to increased opposition from women, the Lukashenka regime launched a misogynistic campaign against political activists that included harassment, threats of sexual violence and social services taking their children. According to Amnesty International, in the southeastern city of Gomel, one activist was threatened with rape right at the police station. On June 20, Lukashenko said that if a woman is elected president, she "will fall, poor fellow."
Ready to rule the nation
The Belarusian protests are mostly leaderless. Kolesnikova is the only one of the three women who remained in Belarus. Last weekend, she called on police and government officials to join the protests, writes The Guardian. Pictures of military and police officers throwing their uniforms into the trash can flooded social media. Tikhanovskaya's team publicly supported those who leave the service, saying that they will be able to work in a “new, free Belarus”. From Lithuania, where the opposition candidate left after threats at home, Tikhanovskaya announced that she was ready to lead Belarus.
However, all these efforts could not suppress the movement of support for Tikhanovskaya's candidacy, which was growing throughout the country - even though she said that she had no political ambitions, but went to the polls only for the sake of men who could not take part in the elections. Tikhanovskaya's political agenda touched on corruption and Lukashenko's weak response to the COVID-19 pandemic. But its main goal is to make the elections in Belarus free and fair. This country has not seen for decades.
I believe that you need to be in solidarity with the women of Belarus, because now terrible things are happening in their country. People, with peaceful protests throughout the country, come out to legitimize the power of the elected president. But the dictator Lukashenko does not want to hand over power to the people. It is very sad. After all, when you realize that such things happen in the 21st century, such miraculous things. Belarus and young women of Belarus - we are with you!