By Anika Bhat and Colette Sawyer
Ukraine's healthcare workforce was in a vulnerable position before and during the pandemic, with 83% of workers being women. These hard working women had salaries below average, no social security, and were performing their tasks in unsafe and unhealthy work conditions1. Now, with a sudden increase of hospital patients, nurses and doctors are working around the clock to provide services to those in need. Since the pandemic started, 2.2 million Ukrainians have contracted COVID-19 and 53,000 have died. Simultaneously, the number of healthcare workers decreased by 5.4 % from January to December of 2020. While the Ukrainian government has tried to address these evident issues, citizens are concerned about their minimal transparency in their distribution of wages, widening the gender pay gap even further. The bonuses also disregarded healthcare workers who were exposed to the pandemic on a daily basis, but weren’t working in hospital or medical facilities where patients had confirmed covid cases1. The workforce additionally does not receive enough support regarding their mental health; Svitlana Panarina, a nurse in eastern Ukraine explained how “[They] don’t have any kind of [mental] help like that” and nurses simply rejoice after saving a patient’s life1. Overall, the COVID-19 pandemic has not been handled effectively in Ukraine, and innocent healthcare workers are paying the price with lower wages and unfair treatment, ultimately widening the gender wage gap.