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Ukrainian ‘parade in heels’ plan sparks backlash

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Plans for female soldiers to wear heels ahead of an August military parade in Ukraine has sparked anger among some Ukrainian lawmakers, the BBC reported.

Photos that circulated online this week showed female soldiers wearing camouflage cargo pants and black heels as they rehearsed for a parade slated for Aug. 24, which would commemorate 30 years since the country gained its independence.

The photos drew swift pushback, with a group of lawmakers demanding that the country’s defense minister, Andriy Taran, issue an apology. Some lawmakers called for Taran to also wear heels during the parade, bringing shoes into parliament in protest, Sky News reported.

Olena Kondratyuk, deputy speaker of parliament, said the photos of women wearing heels while rehearsing during the military parade were “humiliating” and called for them to be investigated, The Guardian reported.

Iryna Gerashchenko, an opposition member of parliament, said she initially thought the photos were fake and called the move sexist, according to the BBC.

The outlet noted that others on social media also blasted the move, with one commentator in Ukraine writing on Facebook, “The story of a parade in heels is a real disgrace.”

The photos were apparently released by the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, which regulates the ceremonial uniform, including shoes.

The ministry said in a news release that the defense minister had met with cadets leading up to the parade and had “listened to the opinions, remarks and wishes of the cadets on the ceremonial uniform, in particular, shoes.”

The news release added that Taran “instructed the profile deputy to consider the possibility of purchasing the required number of samples of experimental models of shoes specifically for the anniversary parade.” 

In response to the backlash over the attire, the ministry said Taran felt the criticisms over the shoes were being “used by some political forces for banal politicking and self-publicity.”

Ukraine’s armed forces have around 31,000 women currently serving.

Tags Military parade Sexism Ukraine
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