Crisis, War and Austerity: Devaluation of Female Labor and Retreating of the State
Following the Euromaidan, the outbreak of war and ensuing economic crisis, the Ukrainian government introduced wide-ranging reforms guided by the neoliberal idea that stability and economic growth can be generated by cutting social spending.
Despite the government’s proclaimed intent to support the poorest and weakest members of Ukrainian society, the opposite has occurred, and the negative effects of the new reforms have ended up targeting them most. Women in Ukraine are particularly harshly hit by these savings measures. Despite superficially pro-women legislation, women tend to have the opposite experience. Cuts to the civil service and social spending generally lead to lay-offs and thus to the firing of women, who overwhelmingly work in these sectors.
Further consequences of Ukrainian austerity policies are, among others, an ongoing devaluing of reproductive labour (care, education, etc.), the dismantling of social infrastructure and a neoliberal, profit-oriented restructuring of the education and health care systems.
The Ukrainian left is faced with the challenge of fundamentally criticizing these processes and articulating alternatives. Left-wing feminists must build a strong network of allies in order to lead the fightback.