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US officials: 70K Ukrainian soldiers died in the war, up to 120K more wounded

With tens of thousands of Ukrainian men killed or wounded in the war, Ukrainian women are taking on new roles as these losses reshape the workforce.
Ukrainian soldier on the frontline. Credit: Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy
US officials: 70K Ukrainian soldiers died in the war, up to 120K more wounded

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, the Economist reported.

According to the analytical article, this led to a shortage of male workers, opening opportunities for women.

The war has caused massive disruption to Ukraine’s 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 Ukraine’s 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, Ukraine’s 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 defence 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. Women’s workforce participation has declined, falling from 54% in 1990 to 48% before the invasion. 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 It states a Soviet-era law banning women from 450 professions was repealed in 2017.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 Ukraine’s Armed Forces has increased by 40% compared to 2021. Almost 43,000 servicewomen are currently serving.

It’s explained by the lifted restrictions on women’s access to all military positions. Previously, women could serve mainly as medical specialists, signalmen, accountants, clerks and cooks. However, now a female soldier in Ukraine’s 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.

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