Policy brief

Political Participation in Kharkiv

Gendered Wartime Changes and Opportunities

Balbon 2024 Political Participation in Kharkiv
Ukrainian women protest in Kyiv to raise awareness about their missing relatives.  | Photo: hurricanehank / Shutterstock
04 Apr 2024

While Ukrainians are fighting back against Russia’s ongoing full-scale invasion, their society and internal politics are changing. One important dimension of this change is the level of political engagement in the country. However, shifts in political participation are not distributed equally between men and women. This, in turn, directly influences who has a say in crucial decisions regarding the country’s defense, recovery and reconstruction efforts. 

As one of the de-occupied areas in eastern Ukraine, Kharkiv Oblast has been heavily impacted by the war. This raises the questions: How has women’s political participation there changed during the full-scale invasion? And what can international actors do to help politically active women in Kharkiv and elsewhere? 

This policy brief demonstrates the complex changes in women’s political participation in Kharkiv. It shows where women have lost and won political power and offers recommendations on how international actors can support women in their fight for a gender-equal distribution of political power. 

The full brief is available for download (in English and Ukrainian).

This is the second policy brief in our series Feminist Perspectives for Supporting Ukraine.” The corresponding project is supported by the Stabilisation Platform, which is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office. It also builds on GPPi’s previous research on the conflict in Ukraine and feminist foreign policy.