In Policy Paper N°7, Iryna Drobovych reflects on the one-year anniversary since Russia launched a full-scale invasion in Ukraine and highlights the imperative role that women are playing, from joining the Armed Forces to leading humanitarian hubs, to advocating at the international level for support. Women are shaping the course of this war from all aspects.
Women Leading from All Sides
Since 24 February 2022, when Russia launched a large-scale war against Ukraine, the women of Ukraine have played a central role both on and off the battlefield and have demonstrated consistent and strategic leadership during the conflict. As a national platform, the Ukrainian Women’s Congress has carefully documented and analysed the role of women during the war and summed up key recommendations for foreign actors in building up partnerships with Ukrainian women leaders, women’s organisations, and networks to support their efforts both in times of war and during the country’s rebuilding.
From joining the military, to keeping the heartbeat of humanitarian efforts alive, to leading a country through uncertain times, women are everywhere and continue to step up in Ukraine. Almost 60,000 Ukrainian women serve in the Ukrainian Armed Forces today, and 5,000 of them perform combat tasks on the frontlines. 70% of Ukrainian women have volunteered to provide support for their fellow citizens affected by war, and many have started and are still running humanitarian hubs that provide humanitarian support and medical supplies both to internally displaced persons (IDPs) and to soldiers on the battlefields. 48% of the small businesses that were started during the war are led by women, many of whom have relocated their existing small and medium enterprises (SME) from their war-torn hometowns to other, safer regions, resulting in more jobs and contributing to the economy in Ukraine. Since the beginning, Ukrainian women have also led communication and relationship-building efforts with international partners to advocate for support, including humanitarian aid, funding, international awareness, media campaigns, and the supply of weapons, all of which are critical.
Read the policy paper in full here.