NewsAs men go to war, women fill in workforce gaps in Ukrainian mines

As men go to war, women fill in workforce gaps in Ukrainian mines

War in Ukraine. Women work in the mines (illustrative photo showing a miner in the mine in Donbas)
War in Ukraine. Women work in the mines (illustrative photo showing a miner in the mine in Donbas)
Images source: © Getty Images | Wojciech Grzedzinski
ed. KRO
8:28 AM EST, November 25, 2023

Ukraine's coal mines have started to employ women due to a labor shortage caused by the ongoing war. Many men, who traditionally worked in the mines, have gone to fight Russian invaders, according to a report by Reuters from the country's eastern region.

In their report, Reuters painted a vivid picture of the situation in eastern Ukraine. They specifically detailed the state of a mine in the Dnipropetrovsk region that lost over a thousand male workers when they chose to go fight against the Russians.

Ukrainian women are now wielding the pickaxes

To combat staff shortages, the mine manager hired over 100 women. However, for security reasons, the agency didn't disclose the location of the mine.

Reuters also shared the account of one of the women now working in the mine. At just 22 years old, Krystyna chose this career path due to a lack of other available jobs since the outbreak of a full-scale war. For the past five months, she has been operating electric trains that transport workers to the coalface, all while working 1542 feet underground.

In her own words, the job is interesting yet challenging, largely because of the heavy battery covers. However, she's content with the pay.

War prompts Ukrainian women to take up jobs in the mines

The DTEK Corporation, which owns the mine cited and several others, estimates that 400 women have been employed across various roles. Most of them undertake underground tasks that don't demand excessive physical strength.

The agency underscores that the Ukrainian coal industry, previously among the largest in Europe, has steadily declined since the fall of the Soviet Union. This is largely due to the dissolution of the centrally-controlled domestic market which the Ukrainian mines once supplied.

Furthermore, in 2014, many coal-rich regions of eastern Ukraine were seized by pro-Russian separatists. Last year, Russia took control of even more mines following a full-scale attack.

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