‘Invisible Battalion’: Women's Participation in Military Operations in the war in Ukraine since 2014

Vendredi, 21 Avril, 2017 - 10:30


Lecture by Tamara MARTSENIUK, Associate Professor, National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Kyiv

Discussant : Christian OLSSON, Associate Professor, REPI-ULB
Introduction by Artem REMIZOV, PhD Scholar, CEVIPOL

Friday April 21st 2017 - 10:30 am - 12:30 pm 

Abstract: The study bears a metaphorical title—Invisible Battalion—to reflect the finding that women in the ongoing conflict in Donbas in the armed forces and in volunteer battalions are not given equal treatment to their male colleagues; their contributions are rarely recognized. The Armed Forces of Ukraine also reflect the broader labor market in Ukraine, defined by the inherent phenomena of vertical and horizontal gender segregation, and a paternalist approach towards women (where the state regulates working conditions).

This sociological research is inspired and organized by Maria Berlinska, volunteer and Head of the Center Air Reconnaissance and conducted by three sociologists. Fieldwork to study women’s participation in the ATO was conducted using qualitative sociological methods: in-depth semi-structured interviews with women who are, or were in the ATO; interviews with experts; supervision (including conference presentations); and content analysis of media messages. The study was conducted in the summer and autumn of 2015. Forty-two interviews were taken with women (aged 20-47) who were or are participants of the ATO. Interviews were also recorded with 9 male soldiers.

The major motivation women cite for joining the ATO is patriotism; many female soldiers state that they plan to stay through the end of the war. Women appear more motivated than their male counterparts: they must overcome gender stereotypes, prove their right to fight alongside men, and accept that they will not be given social benefits.

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