Ukraine’s humanitarian response: led by women, governed by men

By CARE Australia May 4, 2022 0 comments

New research released today by CARE International and UN Women has shown that despite women making up the majority of people using and delivering humanitarian services they are being excluded from decision making.

In Ukraine, women are increasingly becoming sole heads of households and leaders in their communities as men are conscripted, yet they remain largely excluded from formal decision-making processes related to humanitarian efforts, peace-making, and other areas that directly impact their lives.

“The needs of people who are left out of decisions, are the people who are then left behind with inappropriate services in the response and recovery. Our solutions cannot only serve half of humanity, they have to be appropriate for everyone”, said CARE Australia CEO Peter Walton. 

“Women are the majority of those displaced within and outside of Ukraine. They face significantly increased risks. Incidents of violence against women, particularly domestic violence and conflict-related sexual violence, are reportedly increasing, but services for survivors are not provided in full. In many parts of Ukraine, the police are no longer responding to cases of domestic violence”, said Mr Walton.

The report reveals that the impact of the war is particularly disproportionate for internally displaced people and marginalised groups such as female-headed households, Roma people, LGBTQIA+ people, and people with disabilities. 

The analysis, based on surveys and interviews with people in 19 regions in Ukraine between 2 and 6 April 2022, sheds a spotlight on the gender dynamics of the crisis and recommends actions for governments, the international community, and other actors to implement in their humanitarian response.

“What we are hearing from the people of Ukraine is that certain groups—such as those with disabilities, Roma and other ethnic minorities, single mothers, and unaccompanied children—are each in need of different forms of protection and assistance. 

“To keep our response effective and relevant, such groups must be consulted and prioritised across the aid ecosystem as this truly devastating situation continues to evolve,”  says Sofia Sprechmann Sineiro, Secretary General of CARE International. 

For interviews with CARE spokespeople in Australia or Ukraine, contact Hayley Conway on 0484 313 466. 

Download the full report here.

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