Choices East | Project Russia

From 1992 to 1994, Merle Hoffman worked toward the goal of bringing women’s services to Russia.

On November 2, 1992, the Times of London printed a story “Go East, young woman” that detailed Merle Hoffman’s efforts to bring CHOICES East to Moscow, even instigating an Open Letter to Boris Yeltsin from Russian feminists demanding “immediate allocations of hard currency for buying modern contraceptives, and funds for up-to-date equipment and medicine to make abortion as safe as possible.”

Read Merle’s blog entries giving her personal thoughts and insights on her professional work in Russia, along with her women’s rights activism through CHOICES East.

To Russia, the return of Choices East

I received an official invitation to lead a team of physicians and counselors from Choices to Moscow for an educational exchange. Three months later I was on a plane to Russia accompanied by nine of my staff, carrying visions of being a pioneer and of changing their world.

Choices in Russia, Day One

To start the day the Choices delegation and I met for breakfast at the Metropol Hotel in Moscow. Women’s Rights Activist Alena Popova, famous for her work fighting against the Russian patriarchy, joined us. We had an intense discussion about strategies to deal with Domestic Violence and sexual harassment,

Day Two: The Role of Russian Women and Power in Numbers

Today, I attended a multi-track conference on the role of women in modern society at the Civil Chamber of the Russian Federation. The room was full of anticipatory buzz...all in a language I could not understand, but the energy and electricity was palpable.

Day Three in Russia: General Women’s Conference

During a group discussion about healthcare in Russia, I was struck by how fear, shame and guilt seem to be all-consuming forces in the women’s lives when it comes to their health. Even simple wellness practices like self-breast exams are essentially unheard of.
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