Ukrainian Mail Order Brides: Facts, Statistics and Sociological Perspective
Most sociologists, psychologists, and other researchers agree that the phenomenon of mail order brides is understudied. Some people claimed that it will disappear soon a few decades ago, but nothing has changed – these ladies in general and, in particular, Ukrainian women for marriage are still popular. Is not this impressive? We tried to understand the nature of this social phenomenon, and we are happy to share the results with you – just keep reading to learn all the facts about Ukraine and single Ukrainian women – some of the most desired ladies in the world.
Ukrainian wives: single-parent families, divorce rate, gender balance
Before we start discussing social trends, new and traditional values, and other things that make these women special, let us take a look at the facts and figures. The best thing about them is that they describe the demographic situation in the country, and this, in turn, allows us to understand what is the motivation of ladies who move abroad to get married and learn more about their cultural and social background.
According to Statista, about 19,6 million men live in the country, and women outnumber them – in 2019, the number of females has reached 22,6 million. As you can see, the disproportion is really huge, and the fact that Ukraine has always been considered the land of brides is not so surprising anymore. 3 million single women in the country – this is more than just impressive.
The divorce rate in the country is “stable,” which, unfortunately, is no good, just because it is still very high – almost every second marriage there ends in divorce. What are the reasons for such a negative social trend? They are as follows:
- High domestic violence rates. According to the information provided by the United Nations, almost half of the people living in Ukraine have suffered from violence at least once. Most women who have ever suffered from domestic violence faced it in their adult life.
- Alcohol abuse. In 2016, over 11% of men suffered from alcohol dependence. Although it may seem that it could be worse, there is one fact that changes the situation completely. There are 3 million more women than men, and nearly 2 million men are addicted to alcohol.
- Economic problems, bad living conditions. It is a very difficult time for Ukraine. Ongoing armed conflict, unstable situation within the country and plenty of other factors had a very negative impact on the country’s economy. People often break up not only because of misunderstanding, conflicts, failure to meet each other expectations but also because of the inability to overcome financial difficulties.
One of the obvious consequences of this is the stable growth of single-parent families. There is no need to say that it is the mom who often cares about a child. Everything we mentioned above brings us to the next important question, which is, “What are the real reasons why these women move to another country to marry a foreign guy?”
A Ukrainian wife - what is her motivation for getting married to a foreigner?
There is interesting research that shows the real motivation to marry a foreign man for most Slavic women is. It was made by Igor Ryabov, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Texas-Pan American, who called his survey “Russian Wives in America: A Sketchy Portrait”. Do not let this title confuse you – he has interviewed Slavic ladies from various countries, including Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. Moreover, these countries have a lot in common, and their citizens, in particular, female citizens are also alike, so we can apply the results of this research to a regular Ukrainian woman for marriage, too.
According to Igor Ryabov, Slavic women who have already married American men “chose to migrate in order to marry and not vice versa. The thing is, in this case, both parties get what they want. Women, also known as Ukrainian girls for marriage, have certain views on gender roles. As Mr. Ryabov notes, following a husband of father fits into their vision of appropriate gender roles. Yes, these women face certain difficulties, in particular, it is pretty hard for them to prove Americans, including their husbands’ friends that they are not gold diggers, but still, in their opinion, it is worth it because they are finally married to a good man.
More importantly, they know what their husbands expect from them (men usually marry women in part because they are playing their traditional roles of a good wife and mother). Of course, they can expect their husbands to perform their duties, too. In other words, this is pure harmony, but not because this is magic or love at first sight. The thing is both men and women were raised in traditional families and have similar views on gender roles. Even the language barrier and cultural differences cannot devalue this. Besides, the respondents also note that Slavic women are better caregivers, and foreign men are more sophisticated and not as sexually ignorant as local guys. There is no need to say that these things also make marriage much happier and stronger.
Ukraine: culture, languages, and religion
Before we analyze Ukrainian women’s views on the family institution, gender roles, bearing children and other important issues, let us speak about Ukraine and Ukrainians at large. A few short yet interesting and pretty useful facts will help you better understand this country and these people. You can use this knowledge in the future to make a good impression on a Ukrainian, particularly as this country has a rich culture, diverse traditions, and a long history.
- Ethnic groups. Ukrainians and Russians are two different ethnicities. Yes, there was a time when both Russia and Ukraine were part of the Soviet Union, and even though Russians remain the largest minority there, over ¾ of the population of the country are ethnic Ukrainians. Due to recent events, Ukrainians do not like it when someone confuses them with Russians.
- Language. In Ukraine, people speak both Russian and Ukrainian. Besides, in villages, people speak “a mix” of these two languages. Generally speaking, everything depends on where is a Ukrainian from, eastern, western, or central Ukraine.
- Religion. Firstly, it should be noted that almost half of the population of Ukraine is not religious at all. The other half is Eastern Orthodoxy.
- Culture. And again, Ukraine is a mix of European and Russian traditions, views, and values. Nevertheless, the influence of two worlds allowed creating authentic and unique Ukrainian culture which, besides, is gaining more and more popularity abroad, as well as within the country (in regions that have been influenced by other countries’ cultures for a long time.)
What about the family values of Ukrainian brides?
There is no denying that family roles, as well as the social institution itself, are constantly changing. The truth is that not only developed countries fall under the influence of the latest social changes: the rest of the world cannot resist them, too. Of course, we are talking about such trends, as a decline in the number of children, aspiration to reach high prosperity level, feminine emancipation, non-marital birth rates, the uncertainty of the future (in particular, the future of children.) So what is the situation in Ukraine?
In short, according to the results of the research made by two Ukrainian Doctors of Economic, Lisogor L.S., and Sarioglo V.G., Ukrainian society has not changed as much as most western societies. Of course, this information is not enough to understand the nature of Ukrainian wives. That is why we will focus on every significant aspect that influences their views on the family in more detail.
Parents, mutual assistance, trust, what else?
The social survey has shown that traditional family values are still strong in Ukraine. Such values as parents, trust, and mutual assistance are crucial, but there are also material well-being, sexual harmony, and marital fidelity. In other words, people have become more rational, and that is not always bad for marriage, of course, if spouses meet each other’s expectations.
That is why transnational marriages are often happier than marriages between people of the same ethnicity, especially when it comes to one of the Western societies, for instance, the American society, and one of the ”post-soviet” societies. Men in America were raised in traditional families, where every member played their role. Therefore, men grew up keeping in mind that a woman is a great mom, wife, and housewife. Girls in Ukraine grew up in similar families, but not all local men can meet their criteria. Consequently, all parties get what they desire.
What about children?
The good news for most men who are considering marriage with one of the Ukrainian brides is that it is really difficult to meet a childfree in this country. Nevertheless, it would also be a mistake to think that Ukrainian women are ready to bear dozens of kids. According to the survey of 2009 (though it was made over 10 years ago, Ukrainian society has not changed much since that time), an insignificant percentage of respondents think that having as many kids as possible is very important. Moreover, more and more families in Ukraine have only one or two children, and they are not going to have more, often because they just cannot afford that. Therefore, if she is completely sure that her husband can provide for her and their children, there is a chance that she will want to have more children, for instance, 3 or 4 kids.
Who is in charge?
We have already mentioned that Ukrainian wives are pretty conservative when it comes to family roles. Nevertheless, there are a few things that we want to explain in more detail. It would be a mistake to think of Ukraine as a third-world country, which is not progressive at all. It should be emphasized that a high level of economic activity of Ukrainian women, their high educational attainment and high professional and occupational status undoubtedly have an impact on the changes in the leadership structure of the family.
Nevertheless, the survey has shown that more than half of the respondents indicated husband as head of the family (52%), 8% – wife, 40% of married couples have all decisions made jointly by husband and wife and thus can be classified as having partner relations.
The survey confirmed that in the majority of cases, the family is headed by husband, this being the economic basis of his role as the family head. According to the survey data, the husband is the breadwinner in more than 60% of families, both spouses – in one-third of families and wives – in less than 5% of families. Besides, it is not only about money – in most families, wives also build careers and win money, but this does not influence much on her perception of a husband as a man, a leader, the head of the family.
Where do beautiful Ukraine brides and foreign men meet each other?
Of course, there is a certain percentage of couples who met each other during their vacation in some third country, for instance, in Greece. There are also immigrants who moved to another country and met their romantic partner there. However, the fact is that the vast majority of transnational couples have met on one of the dating sites.
Some skeptics claim that the so-called mail order bride sites are not as popular any more, just because the society is changing, and this phenomenon is nothing but an outdated tradition. However, the market is growing, the US remains the top 1 country where the biggest number of people use dating services, and hundreds of thousands of marriages with MOBs are celebrated in America annually, not to mention the whole world.
Why people are still using these services? The answer is really simple – because this system works. Let us take a look at the standard algorithm that is usually used by most top niche sites and dating agencies.
- A company is looking for single, attractive local women who want to marry a man from another country
- It provides them with all the services for free (including creating a profile, shoot, messaging)
- The platform is promoted abroad
- Men also create accounts, but they are paying agency or a site for a possibility to find the best Ukrainian girl for marriage
- Men and women communicate, if two of them fall in love with each other, a man meets a bride in Ukraine
- If everything goes right, a woman moves to her fiancée country, and they get married
The algorithm is as simple as effective. It may seem that dating websites “exploit” men, but in fact, such a principle derives from everything that we mentioned above. In particular, women in Ukraine view man as a breadwinner (this does not stop them from earning money, though), and it would be pretty strange if a man from a richer country with a bigger salary made a woman pay for communication.
The bottom line
Every society is unique, and the Ukrainian one is not an exception to this rule. We discussed this country’s social life in detail to provide you with the possibility to better understand women in Ukraine, their motivation and values, especially family ones. As you can see, the researches, surveys, and interviews show that though these women dream of a better future (not only for themselves but also for their children), the family is the most important thing in life for them. Maybe, they are not as progressive, ambitious or independent as most Western women, but the fact is they make great wives to men who were also raised in traditional families.