Ukraine plans for women to march in high heels spark outrage

·1-min read
Pictures of soldiers rehearsing in combat trousers and black heels have been shared online, causing outrage in the country (Ukrainian Defence ministry press)
Pictures of soldiers rehearsing in combat trousers and black heels have been shared online, causing outrage in the country (Ukrainian Defence ministry press)

Ukrainian defence officials have been criticised after plans to have female soldiers march in high heels instead of army boots in a parade next month were revealed.

Ukraine will stage a military parade on August 24 to mark 30 years of independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Pictures of soldiers rehearsing in combat trousers and black heels have been shared online, causing outrage in the country.

Iryna Gerashchenko, an opposition member of parliament, said the move was sexism, and said she initially thought the images were a hoax.

A cadet, Ivanna Medvid, was quoted on the defence ministry’s information site as saying the training was "slightly harder" due to wearing heels.

"Today, for the first time, training takes place in heeled shoes," she said.

"It is slightly harder than in army boots but we are trying."

Some politicians have strongly criticised the decision (Ukrainian Defence ministry press)
Some politicians have strongly criticised the decision (Ukrainian Defence ministry press)

The defence ministry said the shoes are part of regulation-dress uniform.

Some politicians have strongly criticised the decision, with the parliament’s deputy speaker Olena Kondratyuk calling for an investigation into the pictures which she said were "humiliating" for women.

Several Ukrainian lawmakers close to Ukraine’s former president Petro Poroshenko also showed up in parliament with pairs of shoes and encouraged the defence minister Andriy Taran to wear high heels to the parade.

“The story of a parade in heels is a real disgrace,” commentator Vitaly Portnikov said on Facebook, arguing that some Ukrainian officials had a “medieval” mindset.

More than 31,000 women now serve in the country’s armed forces, including more than 4,000 who are officers.

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