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The beginning of the women's movement in Ukraine

The Ukrainian women's movement appeared in 1884, when the first women's organization in Ukraine was created. According to Oksana Kis, the active discussion in the press of the shortcomings of Ukrainian women, as well as constant comparisons of them with Polish women, led to the formation of a kind of social female ideal - a nationally conscious Ukrainian woman. This image of a "patriotic woman" schematically combined a highly moral mother-wife-housewife and a moderately educated and emancipated (albeit exclusively due to national choice) public figure. In view of such aspirations, the spectrum of activity expected of women in social life most often included: creation and participation in various kinds of charitable, cultural and educational or guardian societies, collecting funds for various Ukrainian foundations (for example, the Shevchenko monument or the Ukrainian theater), organizing social evenings , performances or other entertainment, etc.

During the short period of Ukrainian independence (1917-1921), 11 women were elected to the Ukrainian parliament. According to Oksana Kis, Ukrainian women got their rights not from the Bolsheviks, but from the so-called "bourgeois" and "nationalists". It is also important that by October 24-25 (November 6-7) 1917, Ukrainian women had already used these rights several times, because elections or by-elections were held almost every month in all cities, towns and villages of Ukraine. Already in 1919, a unifying organization was created - the Ukrainian Women's National Council under the leadership of Sofya Rusova. After the fall of the Ukrainian Republic in 1921, independent women's organizations were discontinued. In the western territories of Ukraine, which were not conquered by the Soviet Union, women's organizations functioned until 1938, but were then liquidated.


In Belgium, the first branch of the Ukrainian women's organization appeared even before the Second World War in the vicinity of Liege-Serens. The head of this organization was Mrs. Martynova from Liège. Despite the difficulties, this organization maintained contacts with the Union of Women of Galicia. With the beginning of the Second World War, the organized activity of women in Belgium ceased. After the Second World War, thousands of young Ukrainians who were deported by the Germans came to Belgium because of news of persecution in the USSR. Many Ukrainian women remained in Belgium, some of them became wives of miners and joined the Ukrainian Relief Committee (UDK, now the Society of Ukrainians in Belgium).

Formation of OUB

In 1946-1947, the Women's Section at the UDC was created in Brussels under the leadership of Ms. Dobroslavska, and the Women's Circle was founded in Liège under the leadership of Ms. Huda and Mykhailo, but these organizations did not exist for long. In 1948, the 2nd UDC Congress took place in Brussels, at which a woman was elected to the Board and headed the work on women.


During the 1st Congress of Ukrainians in Belgium in 1948, it was decided to create a separate women's organization, and thus the Association of Ukrainian Women of Belgium was born. Mrs. Zinaida Vityaz became the first Head of the OUB. In November 1948, the World Federation of Ukrainian Women's Organizations (WFUHO) was founded in the USA, OUB was one of the first members of this federation. In 1949, various OUB branches were established in Belgium, and by the end of 1950 their number increased to 15. In the period from 1952 to 1960, due to the large emigration of Ukrainians from Belgium, the number of OUB branches decreased to 5. Despite this, OUB remains active. organization with three departments: Antwerp, Liège-Seren and Brussels.

The structure of the OUB includes the Board, which includes the Chairman, deputies, secretary, treasurer, Cult-educational referent, Heads of Departments. The Main Board is elected for two years during the Congress. Regular conferences are held between Congresses, where current issues and areas of work are discussed. OUB aims to support the independence of Ukraine, promote the preservation of cultural heritage, preserve Ukrainian identity and strengthen ties with international organizations. The organization takes an active part in helping Ukrainian orphans, disabled people and widows, supports information exchange about events in Ukraine.


OUB calls on all Ukrainian women of the diaspora living in Belgium and neighboring countries to join joint activities, because together we are stronger.


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