American officials estimate that at least 70,000 Ukrainian soldiers have died in the war and that up to 120,000 more have been wounded.
According to the analytical article publiched by the Economist, this led to a shortage of male workers, opening opportunities for women.
The war has caused massive disruption to Ukraineís labor force with 4.8 million people losing their jobs almost overnight when Russia attacked, the report states. While unemployment has eased from over 30% last spring to 18.4% in October 2023, it remains well above pre-war levels.
According to the report, 17% of Ukrainian workers have changed professions since the start of the war, and hundreds of thousands have been conscripted. With more men called up for military service, demand is growing for workers in traditionally male-dominated sectors.
Meanwhile, the report showed that there are signs women are playing an increasing role in Ukraineís battered economy, the report suggests. For example, 51% of the 36,000 small and medium-sized companies registered in Ukraine so far this year are run by women, according to Yulia Svyrydenko, Ukraineís economy minister.
The report argues the coming years will require many doctors and psychologists to care for wounded veterans, with women likely filling most of these positions. It adds the energy, transport and defense sectors are also expected to attract more female employees as they play a major role in postwar reconstruction.
However, Ukraine still has progress to make on gender equality, the report highlights. Womenís workforce participation has declined, falling from 54% in 1990 to 48% before the Russian attack. The gender pay gap has narrowed from 26% to 18.6% but remains above the EU average of 12.7%, according to the report. It states a Soviet-era law banning women from 450 professions was repealed in 2017.
According to the Ministry of Defense, the number of women in Ukraineís Armed Forces has increased by 40% compared to 2021. Almost 43,000 servicewomen are currently serving.
Itís explained by the lifted restrictions on womenís access to all military positions. Previously, women could serve mainly as medical specialists, signalmen, accountants, clerks and cooks. However, now a female soldier in Ukraineís army can be a driver, grenade launcher, deputy commander of a reconnaissance group, commander of an infantry fighting vehicle, repairman, machine gunner, sniper, etc.
In addition, age restrictions for women have been lifted. Previously, a woman could sign a contract for military service up to the age of 40, but now the age has risen to 60, on par with men.