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The project "Supporting the economic participation of vulnerable population groups, including IDPs, in Ukraine" of the German Society for International Cooperation Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH launched the Research of the economic activity of IDP women and their strategies regarding the restoration of the sources of income. The research was conducted by Info Sapiens in January-March 2023. It included a representative survey of the Ukrainian population of government-controlled areas and a qualitative survey of specialists from local authorities, State Employment Centers, and NGOs in charge of the labor market or business development and supporting IDPs.

The sample size of the quantitative component constituted 2050 respondents with subsamples of 569 IDP women and 442 IDP men for comparison. The fieldwork was conducted during the period of regular electricity blackouts which ended in March 2023.

Within the qualitative component, 20 interviews were conducted in different regions: 5 interviews were conducted with city councils, 5 - with State Employment Centers, and 10 – with NGOs, business associations, and Chambers of Commerce.

Economic participation and income recovery strategies of IDP women

Overall 24% of Ukrainian employees lost jobs as a result of the full-scale war and among IDP women this rate is twice higher – half of the pre-war employees lost their jobs. Only 31% of IDP women are employed vs. 59% among IDP men and local men and 45% of local women. Specifically, 19% of IDP women are full-time employees, 8% work part-time, and 4% are entrepreneurs or self-employed; 20% of IDP women are looking for a job. The employment rate of IDP women in the West and North regions is twice higher as in the Center, South, and East regions – 44% and 42% vs. 26%, 22%, and 19%, respectively.

Overall IDPs constitute 32% of the unemployed population (specifically, IDP women constitute 18% and IDP men – 14%).

As a result of a massive job loss, IDP women are the most financially vulnerable among target groups: 59% of them have to save on basic needs such as food and/or clothes while among local women this figure constitutes 51%, among IDP men – 40% and among local men 35%. The financial situation of IDP women is better in North and West regions: about half of IDP women have to save on basic needs in these two regions while the worst financial situation is in the East region where 75% of IDP women have to save on basic needs, in the South region this figure constitutes 64% and in the Center region – 59%.

Rent payments create an additional financial burden for IDP women: 57% of IDP women rent an apartment vs. 51% of IDP men.

The main income recovery strategies of IDP women are the following:
• Part-time jobs: the share of part-time employees among employed women increased from 14% to 26% while the share of full-time workers and self-employed decreased as a result of the full-scale war;
• Remote jobs: 30% of IDP women work remotely vs. 15% of IDP men, 7% of local women, and 5% of local men;
• Social security and humanitarian assistance payments (specifically, IDP payments). IDP women depend on IDP and other social security and humanitarian assistance payments for the largest extent among the target groups – on average, 59% of their household budget constitutes social security and humanitarian assistance payments while for IDP men this figure constitutes 42%, for local women – 44%, for local men – 36%.

The needs of IDP women in support for employment and starting own business

44% of IDP women said that they need to find a job for income increase and 4% - to start an entrepreneurial activity. IDP women most often among all target audiences look for work with a flexible schedule (41%), remote work (29%), and part-time employment (28%). Only half of IDP women look for full-time jobs (vs. two third of IDP and local men).

The most attractive sectors for employment for IDP women:
• Sales - 30% (vs. 15% for IDP men);
• Production - 24% (vs. 25% for IDP men);
• Operating personnel (e.g. loader, cook, etc.) - 16% (vs. 11% for IDP men);
• Education – 15% (vs. 2% for IDP men);
• IT – 12% (vs. 25% for IDP men).

The problems with the job search for IDP women are the following:
• The uncertainty regarding the place of living: only a half of IDP women don’t plan to change their place of residence in the next 6-12 months;
• Lack of vacancies and labor market misbalances: high-skilled professionals cannot find jobs that correspond to their level of education and experience in their communities, and they are often unwilling to work in lower-level positions or undergo retraining. As for the blue-collar workers most have worked for a long time in specialized manufactures and cannot find relevant employment in the region. They need to retrain and learn a new profession, but they lack the motivation to do so if they are not sure that they will leave in the settlement;
• Household chores, taking care of children and other family members. Not all settlements have kindergartens and schools often operate online, so mothers are unable to leave their children at home and go to work. Therefore, there is a high demand for remote work and flexible schedules;
• Difficulties in commuting or lack of transportation;
• The bad psychological state of IDP women, including depression and apathy;
• Discrimination: employers are afraid that women with children will often take sick leave, and prefer younger specialists;
• Absence of permanent Internet access;
• Insufficient knowledge of the English language;
• Insufficient knowledge of the Ukrainian language.

Half of the IDP women are ready to master a new profession or receive new skills, and 67% of them are ready to spend more than two hours per day on training. Online learning is preferable for the majority, but 45% are also ready to complete unpaid internships in companies.

The top 5 courses that IDP women are interested in are:
• English language – 35%;
• Ukrainian language – 17%;
• Internet sales (through social networks, marketplaces, and online stores) – 17%;
• Programming, information technology (IT) – 16%;
• Design, graphics, and photo editing – 15%.

The business potential among IDP women is thrice lower than among IDP men: 5% of IDP women plan to start a business vs. 18% of IDP men.

Among IDP women who would like to start their own business 36% have chosen the sale sector while each tenth has chosen education, IT, and beauty industry as preferred sectors of entrepreneurship.

The top barriers for IDP women to starting a business are lack of start-up capital for development (73%) and lack of knowledge and experience (50% - specifically, on how to start a new business, accounting, and legislation).

About 10% of IDP women mentioned the budgets in each of these intervals for starting a business: 1-20 000 UAH, 21-49 000 UAH, 50-99 000 UAH, 100-150 000 UAH, 151-200 000 UAH. 36% said that they do not know the exact amount of money they need to start a business.

Overall approximately a third of IDP women willing to change their profession or start their own business don’t know how to start.

Challenges for local stakeholders

Only 1% of IDP women and 1% of IDP men participated in retraining and/or support projects for small and medium-sized businesses during the last year – the scaling of current initiatives is needed for tangible changes.

Most initiatives are targeted at all unemployed population which may lead to insufficient involvement of IDPs. Specifically, IDPs are covered by the services of Employment Centers less than the local population. According to the official State Employment Center data[1] 329,1 thousand Ukrainians including 27,9 thousand IDPs received the services of State Employment Centres in January-March 2023. Thus, IDPs constitute only 8% of the clients of State Employment Centres while they constitute about a third part of the unemployed population – so they apply to State Employment Centres four times less often than the local unemployed population. 14% of the clients were employed by Employment Centers; among IDPs, this figure constitutes 12% so the effectiveness of the services for IDPs is approximately the same as for the local population. The State Employment Centers don’t provide the IDP statistics by sex, but according to the survey, IDP women looking for a job more often applied to Employment Centres than IDP men – 34% vs. 24%.

The stakeholders mentioned the following challenges for labor market development efforts:
• Lack of long-term and strategic programs for recovery of suffered regions and integration of IDPs in communities;
• Lack of financial support for NGOs. It is essential to provide stable support for local community organizations and their projects, including office expenses;
• Lack of cooperation between State Employment Centers and NGOs, specifically in designing projects for IDPs and other vulnerable groups;
• NGOs providing microgrants would like to have a reserve fund from which grant recipients could be supported in the long-term period if necessary;
• Lack of information on the profile and needs of IDPs and IDP women specifically;
• Lack of cooperation between local government, civil sector, and business;
• Lack of psychosocial support for the project participants;
• Reducing purchasing power in the most suffering areas makes impossible business development. That’s why the respondents from Kherson suggest providing financial assistance rather than products or vouchers (which are accepted only in supermarkets) to help local producers and sellers;
• Restoration of kindergartens, childcare centers, and schools is vital for supporting IDP women with children as otherwise they cannot work or study. The organization of restrooms for mothers with children at NGO facilities should also be supported;
• The complexity of grant applications – the procedures should be as simplified as possible, given the conditions of war and power outages. Also, some NGOs ask to translate documents and grant applications into Ukrainian as they don’t have enough specialists with sufficient knowledge of the English language.


The following initiatives are recommended for supporting the employment of IDP women:
• To focus on the Centre, South, and East regions where the employment situation is the worst;
• To support local professional orientation projects and disseminate information about available opportunities;
• To support English and Ukrainian language courses and disseminate information about available opportunities;
• To support IT, design, graphics, photo editing, Internet sales, and other courses which allow to work remotely and/or with a flexible schedule and disseminate information about available opportunities;
• To support training programs worked out in cooperation with employers and based on local studies of IDP women's needs;
• To support business education projects and disseminate information about available opportunities;
• The training programs should be accompanied by psychosocial support and scholarships;
• To support internship programs and to disseminate information about available opportunities;
• To support childcare opportunities;
• To support microgrants programs for training, Internet access, childcare services, starting or developing own business, and to disseminate information about them. To provide a reserve fund from which grant recipients could be supported in the long-term period if necessary;
• To disseminate information about the services of Employment Centers, success stories about finding a job via Employment Centers by IDP women, especially for white-collar workers (specifically, Start in the IT program);
• To facilitate cooperation between Employment Centers and NGOs for focusing on IDPs and other vulnerable groups;
• To facilitate cooperation between local government, civil sector, and business;
• To provide financial support, recovery grants for NGOs in the regions most suffered from war;
• To consider the possibilities of simplification of grant procedures especially for the regions most suffered from war;
• To organize trainings for NGOs on English language and grants writing;
• To support anti-discrimination projects specifically against ageism;
• To provide humanitarian aid in cash instead of the products or vouchers (which are accepted only in supermarkets) to support local producers and sellers.

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