Original Research - Special Collection: Religion and Theology and Constructions of Earth and Gender

The effects of displacement, food crisis and a crippled economic production on women: The case of Ukraine and the book of Ruth

Sidney K. Berman
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 79, No 3 | a8013 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v79i3.8013 | © 2023 Sidney Koketso Berman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 August 2022 | Published: 08 May 2023

About the author(s)

Sidney K. Berman, Africa Evangelical Church, Shashe, Botswana; and, Research Institute for Theology and Religion, University of South Africa, Pretoria, Botswana


As of the time of writing of this paper (January 2023), Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused a European refugee crisis, death and displacement of countless Ukrainians, worldwide food shortage, fuel crisis and inflation. By comparing the Ukrainian example and the book of Ruth, this paper demonstrates that the effects of forced migration, food shortage and arrested economic productivity are tilted against women. This results in sudden stati of family headship and breadwinner, inability to provide meals for or stabilise the family, and difficulty in attempting to re-establish a livelihood due to the double burden of care. The methodology of the paper is qualitative and gendered. In its interpretation of the biblical text, it is also allegorical and literary while for gathering the Ukrainian data, it is textual. One of the key findings of the study is that during displacement and crisis, women, unlike their male counterparts, tend to carry the family with them wherever they go, which means that women bear the greater burdens of these variables by far. The discussions in the sections of the paper merge the gendered situations, mindsets and events of the book of Ruth with those of the Ukrainian context.

Contribution: Using the examples of the Russo Ukrainian war and the character of the biblical book of Ruth, this article examines the effects of displacement, food crisis and arrested economic production on women. This topic is aligned with the journal’s focus on religion, gender equality and environmental preservation, all of which fall within the journal’s scope.



Ukraine; War; Book of Ruth; Displacement; Women; Food Crisis; Double Burden

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 2: Zero hunger


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