The given research is aimed at studying gender aspects of social resilience during the military situation. The research team tried to understand what inner factors, resources and abilities contributed to Ukrainians’ resisting wartime challenges. Besides, resilience increase mechanisms were established (in particular, among affected men and women).

The research was conducted within membership in the Ukrainian National Platform of the Civil Society Forum “Eastern Partnership”. It was realized by the Women’s Consortium of Ukraine and the Center for Social Research of Sumy State University in May-October 2022. One applied qualitative and quantitative strategies in the Sumy, Mykolaiv, Kyiv and Lviv local communities. Thus, in May 2022, there were online polls among 800 civilians (67.4% as females, 32.6% as males). 79.5% of respondents live in Ukrainian cities or towns, 13.1% in villages, 1.3% in remote community settlements. 3.9% of people moved abroad, 2.3% came to other Ukrainian areas. In August 2022, there were two focus group interviews among domestic migrants and refugees (totally, 16 respondents). They comprised double-affected persons (retired refugees and domestic migrants: pensioners, mothers of many children, disabled people, single parents, 2014-2022 migrants). In September-October 2022, four strategical sessions took place. Among participants, there were state and local authority members, public agency chiefs, civil activists, social and administrative service providers, pro-active attitude individuals (who are abroad and work for Ukrainian development).

The analysis resulted in models of 4 typical development scenarios in Ukrainian local communities. They reflect the current state which is turbulent and changeable as to the security situation. Particularly, the following features were defined: “Front-Line Community”, “Waiting Community”, “Sheltering Community”, “Strategical Community”. Each type includes a set of social and economic tendencies that increase or decrease the wartime human resilience.

Within affected females and males, social resilience assessment was performed according to five Terry Cannon indicators: 1) basic livelihood access; 2) welfare and basic state; 3) security; 4) social service access; 5) public participation and management.

The results show partial satisfaction of Ukrainians with 3 of 5 indicators (basic state, social service access, public participation). It contributes to their managing wartime challenges and raises social resilience. However, these indicators are unevenly distributed between different community types and male / female groups.

Among community residents, we detected the highest access to pure water (92.1%), accommodation (89.9%) and food (89%). Meanwhile, wartime community residents (especially, females) have a restricted access to rest and sleep.

Usually, a sufficient basic state level concerns such types as “Sheltering Community” and “Strategical Community”. Here, there is no urgent need for humanitarian aid that should be mostly provided for target groups. Domestic migrants have a more limited access to rest and accommodation. Disabled people and families with many children lack for rest. Single parents seek for more food. Pensioners are more restricted from food and sleep.

However, “Front-Line Communities” and “Waiting Communities” need for food, pure water and accommodation more frequently. They must be supported as soon as possible.

In spite of the military situation, most community residents have access to key services. It proves a proper work of local authorities and institutions. By the way, services are provided in all community types, which shows the power resilience.

It should be noted that different services are actualized for various affected groups of males and females. It proves the use necessity of a gender affecting approach to coordinate and provide services. Defined within the research, needs and requests should be considered by authorities, charities, humanitarian organizations and public sector. It is essential to set priorities and target groups to aid affected males and females. Usually, it is women who seek for more support. That demonstrates their higher sensitivity and desire to bring up, secure and take care of their family members.

87.9% of respondents can use online services. They benefit also from communication and IT. Along with it, disabled people and pensioners mostly lack for online competences. That must be taken into account when this group is going to be trained respectively. The limited access to online services is more frequently traced in “Front-Line Communities”.

66.3% of respondents confirmed their higher activity during the war. More active are non-affected residents (71.4% within this category), domestic and foreign migrants (70.5%) and single mothers (70%). High activity is detected in “Sheltering Communities”.

The war enhanced the intracommunity social trust and mutual support. Along with high family trust, the same is also expressed to Ukrainian Armed Forces and authorities. Meanwhile, the wartime social atomization is high as well: 37.4% of respondents rely on themselves only in solving problems.

In case of affecting challenges, females and males reproduce inner resources of social resilience. That is possible thanks to self-organization, mutual help, structuring, faith in God, endurance, patience, welfare refusal (especially, among domestic migrants and elderly refugees), stress and danger habits, optimistic future belief, short-term planning, children’s homecoming desire.

Social resilience fall (sensitivity rise) occurs due to such indicators as limited livelihood access and danger feeling. About 70% of respondents regard their social and economic state as quite low. Usually, they seek for money to pay for food, utilities, medicines or to satisfy basic needs. Within the poorest people (in own respondents’ opinion), prevailing groups are females, disabled persons and single parents. Also, 43.5% of respondents (not belonging to any social category) express possibilities to satisfy basic needs only. 18% of them even lack for basic need cash. Therefore, the war caused emergence of new sensitive males and females that currently may be not covered by social and humanitarian programs.

50% of community residents feel danger while 24.5% of individuals cannot define their safety degree. It was disabled people and their guardians (69.8% within this category), pensioners (66.7%) or single parents (60%) whose danger sense was the highest one. Besides, 85.6% of respondents reveal tension and anxiety. The highest numbers of that are detected among disabled persons (90.5%), pensioners (89.6%) and domestic migrants (89.2%).

The full-scale Russian invasion affected Ukrainian employment and incomes. It leads to financial instability and risks of population. 27.1% of respondents earn reduced salaries. 14% lost official jobs, 6.9% lost unofficial ones. 21.3% are not employed (as previously). Domestic migrants and unemployed persons mostly report on lost official jobs. Non-affected social groups usually earn reduced salaries. The highest unemployment is traced in “Front-Line Communities” and “Waiting Communities”.

Financial, employment and humanitarian support is most needed among residents. When basic needs are relatively satisfied, it indicates the most widespread strategy of indefiniteness overcoming and paternalistic mood rise. 57% of respondents seek for money, 43.4% for employment or odd jobs, 35.5% for medicines, 31.9% for food, 27.9% for hygiene products. Therefore, along with humanitarian aid (food, hygiene and medicine supplies), it is important to solve problems of unemployment or reduced salaries.

The war increases sensitivity factors of risk groups. In particular, there are employment performance falls (the economic and psychologic components), nervous and post-traumatic stress disorders. That influences life quality, makes future indefinite, gives no clear prospects in case of sharper problems.

We offered the wartime community mechanisms of social resilience development. They concern people who will return to home communities or move to sheltering ones. Three mechanism categories are determined: 1) social relations; 2) social training; 3) community management. Each category tools may be combined or applied separately by authorities and civil institutes. Additionally, each group has certain aims and tasks. Particularly, the key aim of social relations is social trust rise. Social training seeks for innovative transformations in case of turbulence. Community management comprises inclusiveness.

Research team:
Olena Kupenko – DSc in Pedagogy, associate professor of the Department of Psychology, Political Science and Socio-Cultural Technologies, analyst of the SumDU Social Research Center;
Andriana Kostenko – DSc in Politics, professor, chief of the SumDU Social Research Center;
Nina Svitailo – PhD in Philosophy, associate professor, head of the Department of Psychology, Political Science and Socio-Cultural Technologies, supervisor of the SumDU Social Research Center;
Larysa Kalchenko – DSc in Pedagogy, associate professor, professor of the Philosophy Department (National Technical University of Ukraine “Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute”);
Olena Piekhota – DSc in Pedagogy, professor of the Department of Student Education and Pedagogy Management (Khmelnytskyi Academy of Humanities and Pedagogy);
Kristina Sakhno – analyst of the SumDU Social Research Center;
Hanna Yevsieieva – analyst of the SumDU Social Research Center.

Full report (in Ukrainian):