Beauty Contest For Female Prisoners In Russia

Inmates at a women's prison in Siberia have taken part in a beauty contest to mark International Women's Day.

The contestants were the residents of Penal Colony No 10 at the Gorni settlement, which lies about 62 miles north of Vladivostok .

They shedded their usual prison outfits for gowns and paraded in front of a cheering audience before inmate Maria Gapenko was eventually crowned the winner.

International Women's Day - which takes place on March 8 - was started as a socialist political event and is particularly popular in eastern Europe, Russia and the former Soviet Bloc.

In recent years, however, western cultures have become more interested in the event, particularly since 1977 when the UN suggested member states take up the day as the UN Day for Women's Rights and International Peace.