Publication Date: 26/10/2023
This Rapid Gender Analysis (RGA) has been carried out to shed light on the gender dynamics, needs, experiences and challenges of women, men, adolescent girls and boys and people with diverse gender identities, from different groups and backgrounds, as they cope with the humanitarian crisis after more than one and a half years of full-scale war. The analysis explores how pre-existing and reinforced power relations affect people’s experiences of conflict, and how they cope with the ensuing humanitarian emergency. This report draws on primary data collected in four oblasts (Kharkivska, Dnipropetrovska, Odeska, and Mykolaivska), as well as secondary data from before and during the crisis. A mix of quantitative and qualitative research methods was used, including 45 key informant interviews (KIIs), 611 individual surveys, 12 focus group discussions (FGDs), 12 community mapping exercises and eight individual stories. Data was collected from a total of 735 individuals, of which 43% female adults, 28% male adults, 18% adolescent girls, and 11% adolescent boys, including 9.5% individuals living with some form of disability, and 3.9% identifying as LGBTQI+. Additionally, the role of women-led organizations and women’s rights organizations (WLOs/WROs) was highlighted, with a particular interest in understanding barriers and opportunities around leadership and participation in the humanitarian response.
The war in Ukraine is not gender neutral. Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, women and men have been playing distinct and specific roles. As the humanitarian crisis ensues, a general trend has emerged: women are often providing alone for their families while facing loss of income, family separation, and massive disruptions in the provision of essential services; whilst many men are engaged in the more direct war efforts on the frontlines, exposing themselves to potential death, severe injuries and mental health distress. Although Ukraine has not yet adopted full
conscription, men between ages 18-60 may be called into military service unless they have legal grounds for deferment or exclusion. Many Ukrainian women have also voluntarily enrolled in the military and territorial defense forces.1 Yet, the mobilization of men is deeply rooted in beliefs around masculinity related to self-sacrifice on the battlefield and the defense of their country and family, which reinforces notions of feminine roles rooted in reproductive care. The implications of amplified and more polarized beliefs around gender roles will continue with the ongoing war and its aftermath, particularly for those who may not fit those social norms and expectations, such as people with disabilities and LGBTQI+ individuals.