Espreso. Global

Ukraine's economic recovery hinges on women's return – Bloomberg

24 July, 2023 Monday
16:35

Ukraine faces an uphill battle in its quest for economic recovery, with the ongoing consequences of Vladimir Putin's invasion taking a devastating toll. To rebuild, the nation desperately needs its six million-plus refugees, to come back

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Bloomberg writes about it. 

Currently, most men aged 18-60 are unable to leave the country, resulting in 68% of Ukrainian refugees being women. The return of these women is crucial, as failure to convince the 2.8 million working-age women to come back would cost Ukraine a staggering 10% of its pre-war GDP, equivalent to $20 billion annually.

Deputy Economy Minister Tetyana Berezhna emphasizes the importance of reuniting families and encouraging women to return to the workforce.

"The most important task now for Ukraine, for the Ukrainian government, is to make everything possible so that women with children come back to their husbands and unite in Ukraine,” she said in an interview in her office in Kyiv.

Before the war, Ukraine already faced economic challenges due to a low fertility rate of just 1.2, and the loss of soldiers and civilians has further diminished the workforce.

To achieve post-war reconstruction goals and boost the economy, the government plans to entice women back into the workforce through various incentives, including new labor laws, reducing the gender pay gap, and providing grants to support the spouses of frontline fighters in starting businesses, the article says. 

It is noted that the number of refugees and internally displaced people accounts for nearly a third of Ukraine's population, making their return vital for economic growth. If half of the refugees were to return, it would still cost the economy $10 billion annually.

However, convincing refugees to return becomes more challenging as the war persists.

Bloomberg highlights that many refugees, who have sought safety abroad, are hesitant to return permanently, fearing uncertainties and looking for potential opportunities in foreign countries.

Valeriya Lyulko is just one of the refugees Bloomberg has spoken with. She left Ukraine to take her son, now 12, to safety. Her company arranged a job for her in Germany.

“People who figured out the work situation in Germany, in the Netherlands, in the UK or, like, in any European country, they more or less are planning to stay where they are at this point,” says Lyulko. Asked if she planned to go home, the 42-year-old said there still were too many open questions. “I honestly don’t know,” Lyulko said. 

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