Staunton, June 2 – Ukrainian women have a long tradition of fighting for their people. Not only was that sanctioned by Cossack democracy long before other countries approved of the practice, but it is generally considered that the first woman to reach officer rank in a national army was Yelena Stepaniv who commanded a unit during World War I.
Even before Putin launched his expanded war in Ukraine, women formed 22 percent of the employees of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and more than 12 percent of its soldiers. At the same time, nine percent of the National Guard and eight percent of the Ukrainian territorial defense forces were female.
Since February, their numbers and share have only increased, and today, TRT reports, Ukrainian women in unprecedented numbers “are serving and fighting in practically all military formations of Ukraine and in both the Armed Forces and the National Guard (trtrussian.com/mnenie/ukrainskie-zhenshiny-na-vojne-protiv-rossii-9033856).
The Ukrainian government has actively promoted this development, although it is still a fact, the Russian-language Turkish portal says, that they face discrimination by senior officers who believe that women who become POWs will be subject to gender-specific torture and thus are unwilling to promote them or have them serve in the front lines.
As the war has continued, such attitudes are fading; and Ukrainian women are assuming ever more active combat roles. The consequences of that are likely to be enormous in the longer term, just as they have been in other countries where wartime conditions have allowed women to perform in roles many could not imagine earlier.