Second year MPhil student researching gender equality in the Ukrainian Armed Forces

Gender equality in the Ukrainian Armed Forces

fieldwork photo

My MPhil research focuses on gender equality in the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Specifically, I look at the reasons behind the implementation of the law concerning equal rights and opportunities for men and women in the Armed Forces, which was passed in 2018. My work aims to highlight the growing role of civil society as a domestic actor in transitional democracies as well as the external pressure of EU integration and NATO support that drives the Ukrainian state’s policies.


To enrich my understanding of the situation, and subsequently my research, I spent four weeks in Kyiv, Ukraine, conducting ten interviews with a variety of experts on the subject, ranging from academics and activists to parliamentarians and military and intelligence personnel. This was beneficial, though not without difficulty, as scheduling interviews with high-profile MPs proved to be challenging. Nevertheless, I was able to accumulate my contacts through snowball sampling, which delivered positive results for my research and has also given me an opportunity to conduct interviews remotely.


I also benefitted immensely from spending some time at the National Parliamentary Library of Ukraine, gathering additional information and discussing my research with the librarians, who were able to give me good advice on archival work and possible sources. One of my interviewees also kindly invited me to a related event that focused on war veterans, which brought to my attention another aspect of interest for my MPhil thesis.


My aim is to bring this topic into the spotlight from an area studies angle, as it is very nuanced and remains largely understudied. I was astonished by the interest that every interviewee expressed in my topic, with the initiator of the reform praising my dedication to the cause. Such interactions gave me hope to explore my research further and I am confident that I will provide a clear and enticing account of this crucial issue for women’s rights in a transitional democracy.


I am extremely grateful for the support of the REES Department and the REES Travel Grant in helping me develop this topic further in Kyiv this summer.