Contact person:
Svitlana Babenko
  • Knowledge Foundation
Responsible at MaU:
Brigitte Suter
Time frame:
01 September 2022 - 31 August 2025

About the project

The Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, has led to a huge number of Ukrainians escaping their ruined homes and fleeing to European countries. The current situation is extraordinary: Ukrainian refugees to Sweden, as in other countries, are predominantly women with children, who have different professional backgrounds. Often those who fleeing abroad from Ukraine come from the Ukrainian middle class – something that EU politicians and the media emphasize and contrast with the predominantly non-European, male refugees who arrived in Europe since the so-called refugee crisis in 2015 (Sajjad, 2022). In contrast to the latter, Ukrainian refugees are met so far with higher levels of public support and institutional openness, i.e. they instantly receive a work and residence permit for a year with the possibility of prolonging up to three years depending on the situation in Ukraine.

While one cannot predict how the situation will evolve, the current situation provides a unique opportunity to study three aspects of the refugee situation in Europe:

  1. Institutional changes in politics of migration in three EU countries (Sweden, Germany and Poland) in response to the current situation.
  2. Solidarity, cooperation and the othering/de-othering practices of local communities towards Ukrainian refugees.
  3. Survival and adaptation strategies of Ukrainian women refugees in these countries, focusing in particular on highly skilled female refugees’ pathways into a host country’s labour markets and the perspectives of business development during and after the war is finished.

The comparative, intersectional and mixed methodology will be applied to address the research questions. The research design is done in a combination of;

  • institutional response analysis, based on an analytical review of migrant policy changes in the three countries,
  • conducting in-depth interview sets (at least two waves) with Ukrainian refugees, and
  • expert interviews with representatives of local organisations that support Ukrainian refugees.

The data will be analysed, following the logic of intersectional analysis of inequalities that focuses on the interplay of gender, class and age in their different displays (Choo&Feree,2010; Lykke,2010; Walby et al.,2012). This will allow for the emergence of new findings on the complex interrelations between inequality and potential empowerment at the critical life-course-changing moments for highly skilled female Ukrainian refugees entering the EU (Sweden, Germany, Poland) labour market.

The findings will be published in high-ranked international journals within the fields of gender, work and organization studies, and will be used to formulate recommendations for policymakers and the business sector to improve the employment level of Ukrainian refugees and explore the grounds for the local and international business development on the reconstruction of Ukraine after the war.