Ukrainian Women Becoming ‘Rosie the Riveters’ in Roles Previously Held by Men

Laws blocking women from working in hundreds of jobs were suspended at the start of the war.

Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

Much like women during WWII, Ukrainian women are taking on roles that had traditionally been male-dominated.

But there are still limitations for women who want to serve in the military.

Thousands of men left their jobs to fight after the Russian invasion began more than a year ago, and women have been taking many of them left vacant, CNN reported.

Ukrainian law previously forbade women from holding hundreds of jobs deemed too dangerous.

Those laws were suspended when President Volodymyr Zelensky declared martial law.

The New York Times reported that since men are not allowed to leave the country so they are available to fight, women are now volunteering to drive vehicles from Europe for use by the Ukrainian military.

“Women are … heroes of this war,” Oksana Markarova, Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States, said during a State Department virtual panel session on the role Ukrainian women play in fighting Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and their collective future.

There are also 60,000 women serving in the Ukrainian armed forces, according to U.S. figures. Around 5,000 of them serve in combat units, working as paramedics and snipers.

But one U.S. researcher found that a majority of the women are being put into lesser roles.

Jessica Trisko Darden, an assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, found that Ukraine’s military policy decisions have limited women’s ability to voluntarily serve on the front lines.

She says women are restricted to highly gendered roles that focus on domestic or support duties, such as cooks and office managers.

One U.S. official says they are serving in vital roles.

“Throughout history, women have played a critical role in Ukraine’s fight for freedom and sovereignty,” said Katrina Fotovat, acting ambassador-at-large for the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues at the U.S. Department of State.

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