Ukraine: Conflict compounds the vulnerabilities of women and girls as humanitarian needs spiral
In the days since Russia launched a military offensive in Ukraine, the world has seen the photographs of women giving birth in underground metro stations and newborns hastily being moved to makeshift bomb shelters as health facilities become inaccessible or too damaged to function. An estimated 80,000 women will give birth in the next three months in Ukraine – many of them without access to critical maternal health care. For some, childbirth will be a life-threatening rather than a life-changing experience.

For millions of other women and girls, including those who have lived in the shadow of conflict in eastern Ukraine for the last eight years, gender-based violence is a serious problem they know all too well. According to a 2019 UNFPA study, some 75 per cent of women in the country reported experiencing some form of violence since age 15, and one in three reported experiencing physical or sexual violence. Crisis and displacement put them at increased risk of sexual and physical violence and abuse.