The war worsens pre-existing inequalities, especially for older women and single mothers, who make up the majority of socio-economically deprived people in Ukraine.
Conflicts tend to pay a higher tax on women and girls, and the war in Ukraine is no exception. Despite the difficulties of collecting information in zones affected by conflict, at least five publications have been produced so far, revealing the vulnerability of females during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
UN Women’s most recent publication includes a gender analysis conducted from 14 to 22 March 2022. The document reveals that the war worsens pre-existing inequalities, especially for older women and single mothers, who make up the majority of socio-economically deprived people in Ukraine. In terms of migration, the study measured the flow of migrants by gender, and 3.7 million refugees have escaped from the country (90% of whom are women and children). On the other hand, the total number of internally displaced people has reached 6.5 million. In terms of the most critical concerns for protection, the publication alludes to sexual and gender-based violence as well as the loss of access to water, food, and sanitation. Proposals include the need to incorporate data and women’s voices in budgeting, programming, and service delivery.
In cooperation with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), various surveys have been conducted to reflect the needs and hopes of Ukrainian Refugees and third-country nationals. The earliest displacement survey was founded in 1777 interviews of Ukrainians crossing the border of Moldova, from 9 -17 March 2022. The mentioned report was updated based on 4,384 interviews conducted from 9 to 27 March at 4 Moldovan crossing points and three transit locations. The survey included data such as place of birth, planned destination, primary needs, and entry points and centers. In total, women accounted for 81% of all surveyed refugees, 83% of them were traveling with at least one child, and 87% were in a group. They also revealed that 1 in 10 women traveling alone had been victims of harassment, human trafficking, or gender violence.
In March 2022, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women UN Women published a fact sheet with data on the demographic profiles of Refugees from Ukraine, hosted by the Republic of Moldova. The report reveals that for every 100 women, there are 77children under 11 years: “Women are shouldering an immense burden of childcare, compounded with stress, fear, psychological distress, limited access to basic services and heightening risk for sexual gender-based violence, and human trafficking.”
A survey conducted by UN Women between 4 to 10 March with 67 women’s civil society organizations across Ukraine, with the primary purpose of helping inform the decision-making of national and international stakeholders, mentioned seven main areas of interest for women and girls. Among the main concerns were: The loss of livelihoods, a lack of necessities, the psychological impact of war and constant fear, sexual and gender-based violence, a lack of communication, and the exclusion of women from planning and decision-making at all levels.
The efforts that are being made to collect data and inform decision-makers are of vital importance to ending the conflict. Observing the situation through a gender lens and understanding how it affects women and girls will help find solutions and move forward toward achieving global peace.