To commemorate March 8, International Women's Day 2020, we interviewed three activists who have dedicated their work to women and HIV.
Svitlana Moroz is activly involved in several organisations in Estern Europe and Central Asia (EECA). Svitlana is also a former Steering Committee Member of AIDS Action Europe, in our interview she tells us about her activism in women and the HIV prevention field.
Tell us about yourself: What's your name? Where do you live? Where do you work and in what field are you active in?
My name is Svitlana Moroz, I live in Ukraine. I work in several community organisations. At the local level I work at the Club "Свитанок" (translated as Svitanok), at the national level at the charitable organisation "Позитивные женщины" (translated as Positive Women), and at the regional level the Eurasian Women's AIDS Network. All of my activities in these organisations are related to protection of the rights of women who are subject to multiple forms of discrimination, such as women living with HIV, women with substance dependencies, sex workers, and victims of military conflict.
Why are you doing this? (What exactly do you do in terms of activism? What do you want to change and where do you see gaps?).
I myself am living with HIV, and I have experience with substance use and forced displacement. I am working to reduce discrimination and violence, especially institutional violence, against marginalised and vulnerable women. I invest a lot of energy and strength into ensuring that we get evidence of the violation of women’s rights and women's access to justice and services, as well as data on the links between gender inequality, violence and the HIV epidemic. It is important to me that women have the opportunity to assert their rights and unite with other women to strengthen their voice and visibility in the public and political spheres. That is why I like to do community-based research. Besides the amount of data itself that we receive, the information empowers us and increases our motivation to act.
What positive changes have you made in your work? What was the highlight of your activist work?
Last year, for example, in Ukraine we managed to lift the ban on IVF treatment for women living with HIV. Every year more and more women with HIV are speaking out openly. I am especially inspired by those living in the Caucasus and Central Asia. More women and women’s networks are involved in planning and monitoring HIV services, and more shadow or alternative reports are being submitted to CEDAW and other UN bodies from the communities of marginalised women. The highlight of the last year for me was the Regional School of Feminism. I still get feedback from various participants on how it has influenced their lives in different areas.
What positive changes in women’s rights would you like to achieve by 2030?
I want to ensure the ratification of the Istanbul Convention in all EECA countries where it has not yet happened. The same applies to the humanization of HIV transmission, sex work, substance abuse and policy. I want reproductive and parental rights to be guaranteed. I want to have meaningful political involvement and access to resources and unimpeded access to education.
In your opinion, what should feminist activism look like in the future (in the world of online technologies)?
I want to see feminism as intersectional as possible. And, of course, it should be safe for all women activists.