Russia Uses a Strategy of Gendered Disinformation in Ukraine to Silence Women Journalists – Study

Russia Uses a Strategy of Gendered Disinformation in Ukraine to Silence Women Journalists – Study

The NGO "Women in Media" has published a study titled “An Underestimated Threat: Gendered Disinformation about Ukrainian Women Journalists”

Due to the lack of attention to the issue of gendered disinformation from the government and from specific institutions, particularly the media, women who face information attacks are left alone with the problem and its consequences, which may eventually lead to a decreased engagement of women in social and political processes. Raising critical subjects and fighting for the rights of others, women media workers are not always ready to stand up for themselves, since precedents of public exposure and response to gendered disinformation in particular are isolated cases so far, rather than a systematic pattern.

Key findings:

  • Content analysis of the information space of Ukraine and Russia (media, social networks, radio, television) using the information and analytical service Attack Index in the period from February 24, 2022 to August 2023 showed the presence of gendered disinformation about Ukrainian journalists;
  • Russia uses a strategy of gendered disinformation in Ukraine to silence women journalists and create a certain negative image of gender equality and the role of women in democratic societies;
  • The general context of the information field illustrated that in the analyzed period, Russian information space saw an intensification of negative attitudes to the ideas of feminism and gender equality. For example, the Russian media consolidate the following line of associations: feminism — sexual deviations — pro-Ukrainian views (nationalism) — terrorism;
  • The Ukrainian information environment, on the other hand, has narratives that differ from the Russian ones regarding this subject: “Feminism is a movement of strong women,” “The history of Ukrainian feminism is much older than the communist traditions,” “The gender-based approach is about equal opportunities and universal human values.”;
  • Ukrainian radical right-wing groups are independent agents distributing gendered disinformation. However, they are not part of the mainstream and have little influence on the public discourse;
  • It is important to create an environment and a system at every level (the state — the police — newsrooms — NGOs) where women journalists could identify and report facts of gendered disinformation without fear of suspension from future assignments, feeling confident that they will be able to get the necessary help and support.

The study was carried out by:

Liza KUZMENKO is a media expert and trainer on issues of gender equality and non-discrimination, head of Women in Media NGO, member of the Commission on Journalistic Ethics, national consultant for media and gender projects of the Council of Europe in Ukraine, UNDP, and International Media Support (IMS). In 2016-2019, she worked at Hromadske Radio.

Larysa KOMPANTSEVA is a professor with a PhD in Philological Sciences, an honored education worker, deputy head of the chair for strategic communications and applied linguistics of the National Academy of the Security Service of Ukraine. Her research interests include strategic communications, gender analysis, linguistics of hybrid warfare.


Olena STRELNYK is a Ukrainian scholar with a PhD in Sociology, author of papers on the sociology of motherhood and issues of gender inequality.  Aliona ROMANIUK is a fact-checker, editor-in-chief of the project “On the Other Side of Putin’s Lies,” professor of the Research and Science Institute of Journalism of the Taras Shevchenko Kyiv National University.

Download the research:

In Ukrainian

In English


This study was authored by the NGO “Women in Media” within the framework of the “Voices of Ukraine” project. This project was implemented by the European Center for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) with the support of the German Federal Foreign Office. The authors are responsible for the content of the study. The views presented do not necessarily reflect the views of ECPMF and/or the German Federal Foreign Office.

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