Olena Zinenko, Ukraine

Women on the Global Community Airwaves

Women on the global community airwaves is a podcast series bringing you stories told by women around the world working to strengthen women’s voices on airwaves within their own community media. The stories are brought to you by me, Birgitte Jallov, who have worked with these issues for a lifetime. The women tell about why it is so important that women get a voice and what it means for the producers, the listeners and the community contributing. Much more here →

Olena Zinenko from Kharkiv in Ukraine, takes us in this episode through the recent media history of Ukraine, where communication – and culture – has gotten a whole new importance in the present war situation, where also new voices are heard in new ways. As she says: the state media, the commercial and oligarch media create media products – she and her colleagues focus in their media production on processes, on creating understanding and of becoming. A peace activist and a media consultant at the Centre of Gender Culture’s Media Laboratory, Olina has worked with multimedia reportage workshops and creative journalism.

Olena had to leave Kharkiv with her husband and two daughters when their city was attacked – fleeing first to Poland and thereafter to Germany, where she at the time of the interview (January 2023) was based in Frankfurt an der Oder. Here she continues her research at Frankfurt’s Viadrina University, while waiting to return home.

Olena in this interview stresses that the war has brought the Ukrainian people together as one, and that culture is at the core of much media work by women. Olena uses her social media presence to translate the important, hard news from Ukraine in English to her broad group of followers, and she shares a heart breaking observation – and positive in the midst of the horror of the war: when reading the posts of her women followers on the social media, she becomes relieved when they begin to search for manicure and other things related to keeping themselves and their bodies in their new realities – this means that they HAVE found a place to live, a school for their children and have food on the table – only then will they begin to think of other things.

Olena Zinenko is senior lecturer and Ph.D. researcher at the Chair of Media Communiation, Sociology Department, V.N. Karazin’s Kharkiv National University in Ukraine. Her research interest lies in a rethinking of the approaches to the media representation of the public events in the context of social and political transformations.

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More about Olena Zinenko
Olena’s University Profile