Our PhD researcher Elise Ketelaars has just published 'Geographical value spaces and gender norms in post-Maidan Ukraine: the failed ratification of the Istanbul Convention' in the Review of International Studies.
Through a detailed examination of international and domestic actors’ engagement with the failed ratification process of the Istanbul Convention in Ukraine, this article aims to enhance understanding of the appropriateness of the use of these geographical value spaces when describing the struggle to combat GBV in Ukraine, and how connecting gender justice issues to geographically restricted value spaces impacts this fight.
It finds that in practice neither the EU – despite Russia's allegations to the contrary – nor domestic political elites in favour of closer cooperation with Europe have provided meaningful support to the ratification of the Istanbul Convention. Faced with this situation, some Ukrainian feminists have increasingly sought to present the struggle to combat gender-based violence in a locally acceptable vernacular.
This article, however, concludes that framing the struggle for women's rights in any type of geographical terms – be they of an international or domestic nature – increases the risk of either instrumentalisation of or selective engagement with the feminist agenda.