Women in many professions will now be required to register in the military.
Details were set out in the October 2021 Order of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, which also contains a list of professions that can be involved in military service.
The order has been criticized for requiring that pregnant women and women with young children would have to register with the military. In addition, the Ministry set the upper age limit for women at 60 years. As part of the process, the military commissariat will undertake health and verification checks to determine whether each individual registration can go ahead.
However, several statements have been issued to try to clarify a number of emerging misconceptions.
Military registration is not conscription.
“These legislative changes will not affect the lives of Ukrainian women now. But, by the end of 2022, it may be necessary [for women] to register at the territorial center of staffing and social support in their district of residence. No problems should be expected during 2022. However, in the future, any evasion of military registration, as for men, will be subject to warnings and fines from the territorial centers,” the Ministry announced in a statement.
Where applicable, fines will be payable by the individual and her employer. A woman can be fined from Hr 850 to Hr 1,700. Meanwhile, the employer can expect a fine of Hr 5,500 to Hr 8,500.
Women in the armed forces cheer
Yulia Mykytenko is a Reserve Officer who joined up in 2016 to defend her country in Russia’s war in eastern Ukraine. Aged 21 at the time, she recalls how at first there were very few women, but over time the numbers started to grow.
Mykytenko spent her first year based at the military headquarters on the second front line. She later undertook a three-month officer’s course, after which she earned the military rank of “commander of a motorized infantry platoon.” Only after that was she allowed on the front line.
“I wanted to fight for the independence of my country. It was really difficult because I was not treated like a soldier, but like a girl. At first, they didn’t even want to put me on watch. I proved that I could do it but there were others who returned to headquarters because they did not want to fight.”
Mykytenko welcomes the updated law on military registration. In her opinion, women who have always wanted to join the military will be able to do so more easily.
“This is an opportunity for women who wanted to register before, but were unable to do so,” she says.
Referring to a friend who commanded a mortar unit, she says that women may be physically weaker than men, this need not be a barrier. That said, Mykytenko acknowledges that a portion of women tend to feel more comfortable in staff positions than roles in direct military conflict.
Definite effects, eventually
In the future, women will need to provide a military registration certificate when taking a job. Previously, this was required only for men.
Registration for military service is currently required by the end of 2022 at the territorial center of recruitment and social support in their district of residence.
At first, a hard copy registration process will be required. This would include the registration agreement, work and marriage documents (if any) and a physical examination as well, said Military Commissioner Valeriy Kutsenko.
However, an online application procedure is currently being developed to modernize the process.
“A procedure for military registration is being prepared, which will allow for as much of the process as possible to be undertaken remotely and online. The State is carrying out anti-bureaucratic reform so that people do not have to move papers from place to place,” wrote Commander-in-Chief Valery Zaluzhny on his Facebook page.
According to the Ministry of Defense, there are approximately 10 million females who fit the recruitment profile in Ukraine. But whether all eligible women will be able to register with the military 2022 is not known, as it is still unclear whether the military registration and enlistment offices will be able to cope with the workload. If not, the process will continue in 2023 and fines will be postponed.
The move comes as tensions along Ukraine’s borders with Russia and Belarus are on the rise and Ukraine prepared for its eighth year of combat in the east of the country.
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