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Over 8 Million Women and Girls in Ukraine Require Humanitarian Assistance in 2024

InternationalOver 8 Million Women and Girls in Ukraine Require Humanitarian Assistance in 2024
By: Asim Nawaz

New York: Two years of Russia’s full-scale war in Ukraine has taken thousands of lives, caused untold destruction, displaced millions, traumatized a generation, torn families and communities, and devastated the economy. The total cost of reconstruction and recovery in Ukraine is estimated by the World Bank, European Commission, United Nations, and the Government of Ukraine at USD 486 billion over the next decade. This war, like all wars, takes a bigger toll on women and girls, who disproportionally carry its burden.

Since the beginning of the Russian full-scale invasion, an estimated 3,238 women and girls have been killed and 4,872 injured; while 56 percent of approximately 4 million internally displaced are women. Predictions for this year are somber, with women and girls accounting for 56 percent of those expected to need humanitarian assistance (8 million women and girls). These continued attacks on women and their livelihoods are unacceptable.

As we mark this tragic two-year milestone, women in Ukraine face increased challenges in accessing security, justice, social services, mental, sexual and reproductive health services, employment, and other essential services. 72 per cent of people registered as unemployed are women. The war has also heightened the risks of gender-based violence, including conflict-related sexual violence, human trafficking, and intimate partner violence.

Amidst the unprecedented challenges of war, women have become the backbone of Ukraine’s economy. Currently, one out of every two businesses in the country is founded by a woman. In 2023 alone, Ukrainian women led the creation of over 10,000 new companies. Additionally, more than 62,000 women are serving in the military, including 43,479 on active duty and over 5,000 stationed at the frontline.

“As women continue to suffer the consequences of the war in Ukraine, they need support, security, and most of all, peace.  Their resilience throughout has been enduring and remarkable.  I reiterate UN Women’s solidarity and admiration for every woman in Ukraine who is supporting her family, community and country whether through the provision of humanitarian assistance, or leadership of contributing to recovery and reconstruction,” highlighted Sabine Freizer Gunes, UN Women Representative in Ukraine.

Women and women-led organizations are playing a significant role in providing humanitarian aid, supporting their communities and sustaining the economy.
 
“As an internally displaced person and professional psychologist, I have been helping other women to overcome their problems, including forced displacement, violence, and unemployment. In my role of coordinator for a project in the city of Sambir we organize a variety of activities, including psychological and psychotherapeutic groups, art classes, and English language lessons”, explains Anastasiia Pyrohova from Women’s Perspectives, one of the 40 civil society organizations supported by UN Women.  
 
UN Women works in Ukraine providing humanitarian response to more than 45,000 women and girls as well as 100,000 dependents indirectly supported in 2023 through life-saving humanitarian assistance, as well as psychological support, legal aid, and referrals to social services. In 2023, UN Women disbursed USD 10.6 million to support women and women-led civil society organizations nationwide. UN Women also cooperates closely with the government and civil society to further advance laws and policies that support gender equality and women’s empowerment. Women are also being economically empowered through livelihood recovery support, skills development, business support, and access to employment as part of initiatives like the “Women’s Entrepreneurship Expo”. Despite the ongoing violence, women in Ukraine are pushing forward to create a more gender-equal society and deserve our support.

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