DIVOCHE.MEDIA: Amplifying Voices of Women in Ukraine
By Brian Dooley
Kyiv — For over a decade, the independent media outlet DIVOCHE.MEDIA has provided a feminist perspective on Ukrainian society, health advice, and regular news updates. Divoche means “For Girls,” and although most of its audience is made up of girls and women, there are many men too.
They are an independent, credible, and distinct voice at a time when people in Ukraine are devouring news like never before. Many of the stories are personal, like one woman’s recent account of travelling home to Ukraine for Christmas on a bus from Vienna.
Since the Russian invasion last February, its content focuses on war-related issues. This week there are pieces about families returning home to Ukraine despite dangers, updates on new regulations about the conscription of women, and an exploration of psychological violence and how to avoid it.
The outlet says it strives “to speak frankly about women and provide a platform for diverse voices that talk about real life, real problems of women, their needs, fears, hopes, their experiences, success and achievements. Each of us deserves to be heard. Each of us can be an example and inspiration for others.”
Despite always operating on a shoestring, and struggling through countless air raid alarms, cuts in electricity, and breakdowns in internet connectivity, it continues to post a high quantity of high-quality work every day.
“We see it primarily as a platform for women’s voices,” said Founder and Editor in Chief Oksana Pavlenko. “We have about a dozen writers and journalists who write for us regularly, but also many other women who share their experiences about all sorts of things — coping with cancer, or how they’re dealing with relatives fighting and dying in the war.”
The constant danger of rocket attacks in Kyiv, and the regular cuts in the power supply, make things very difficult. Like most in the country, those at DIVOCHE.MEDIA have adapted to the strange new life by vigilantly charging phones, flashlights, and other appliances when they can, and often relying on generators for heat.
Tesia Mazanik, who tracks DIVOCHE.MEDIA’s audience and reach, estimates they get around 70,000 visitors to the site every month, plus reach hundreds of thousands more people through Facebook, Telegram, and Instagram. Readers are on every continent, including thousands of people in the U.S. It’s an astonishingly large audience for an under-resourced media outlet coping in a war.
Their support comes piecemeal, in small donations, making budgeting and planning difficult. Advertising income had dried up during Covid, but they are now hoping to grow, with plans to explore podcasting this year.
The coming year won’t be an easy one for people in Ukraine, struggling with the consequences of many months of war, and the possibility of many more to come.
DIVOCHE.MEDIA provides an invaluable outlet for women in war to share their views and experiences with a huge audience. It deserves to grow and be supported. It’s possible to make a donation on its site, here.