The consequences of war

Publication date
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)

In June 2023, the report Understanding and addressing the gendered consequences of the war in Ukraine was presented by Honourable Hedy Fry, Special Representative of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on gender issues. The report analyses the consequences of the war on women and girls, focusing on the humanitarian situation and on sexual and gender-based violence.

Armed conflicts, as shown by research, always have a gender impact; the Russian invasion of Ukraine is, in this respect, no exception. 

The first part of the report, in particular, looks at the Russian-Ukrainian conflict from a gendered perspective, analysing the resulting humanitarian crisis by sheding light on the issues faced by Ukrainian women and girls, from food security to the economic situation and access to healthcare and mental health services. In addition, a specific section is devoted to a detailed analysis of sexual and gender-based violence caused by the war. 

The second part examines the ways in which, thanks to an increased awareness of the causes and consequences of gender-based violence, the international community has responded to the war in Ukraine, highlighting the multiple initiatives implemented by human rights organizations, UN agencies, civil society, academics and governments.

The report clearly underlines the threat that the war represents to gender equality in Ukraine. Furthermore, although awareness of the gender impact of the conflict is increasing, there are still numerous gaps in the available data: according to the report, this would not allow governments to implement inclusive interventions in order to adequately respond to the emergency and to the real needs of people. 

In conclusion, in order to truly address the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, it is necessary for OSCE member countries to incorporate intersectional gender perspectives into their humanitarian support policies.

Read the full report