LAST week we marked International Women’s Day – celebrated annually on March 8 – as a day that commemorates the social, political and economic achievements of women.

This year is particularly poignant as we watch our sister Ukrainians suffer the brutal reality of war, making our own perceived struggles for equality in our generally safe environments pale into comparison. 

Eighty years ago, almost to the month, as the Second World War raged, my grandmother fled Kyiv as a Jewish refugee, the only member of her family to survive.

Babula1
My grandmother in 1942 after she fled Kyiv and arrived in a refugee camp run by the British in Iran.

She lost her family, her home, her belongings and even her name as she adopted a fake identity and forged papers to begin a new life, firstly in Iran and then in England.

But she never lost her indomitable Ukrainian spirit and that same spirit is apparent in every image of women broadcast from the war-torn country since the Russian invasion – whether reporting from the frontline, sheltering in bunkers or trekking miles to get to safety across borders.

Refugees At Warsaw Train Station In Warsaw, Poland 8 Mar 2022
A woman seen carrying her baby after arriving in Polanad from Ukraine last week. (Photo by Attila Husejnow / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)

March 8 is a day to celebrate our grandmothers, our mothers, our sisters and our daughters, our fellow womankind and to come together in solidarity and peace in the hope of creating a better world. And this year it is more important than ever.

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