Ya Zhinka is a legally registered small enterprise. It is both a women’s magazine and a social center. The magazine was first published in 1992, while the women’s center began in 1994. The purpose of Ya Zhinka, the magazine, is to present and discuss information and issues of importance to Ukrainian women. The magazine and center deal with women’s problems at all levels: political, economic, social, and personal. Ya Zhinka is now operated primarily by volunteers and with limited outside support.
Cherkasy is the sister city of Santa Rosa, California and since 1985 people from the two cities have been meeting on various levels. Journalists became involved early in reporting on these meetings and it was in this process that several women journalists in Cherkasy began to learn more about the lives of women in America, about women’s issues and publications, and decided to launch their own women’s magazine in Cherkasy.
The Women’s Center developed as an outgrowth of the magazine. Women started gathering with the journalists and discussing various issues. They met also with women visiting from Santa Rosa, especially therapists trained in leading women’s groups. A group of about 20 Cherkasy women began to meet weekly and invited local psychologists, gynecologists, alcoholism specialists, and other professionals to meet with them and share information. A Santa Rosa woman who had seen this desire growing purchased a three-room flat in Cherkasy and has offered it rent free as a home for the magazine and women’s center.
One recent exchange resulted in a long term plan to build a rehabilitation center in Cherkasy utilizing Santa Rosa equipment and training. To continue these various programs a nonprofit corporation, Ukrainian and American Women’s Action Project, has been formed in Santa Rosa, California.