The military is preparing for a major parade to celebrate 30 years of independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union. “We trained to wear high heels for the first time today,” trainee Ivana Medved said on the ministry’s website. “It’s a little trickier than the boxes, but we do our best.”
Does Medved sound odd, or just looks? Be that as it may, Ukrainian politicians were not satisfied with the magnificent shoes. In protest, they took heels to Parliament, which they proudly put on their desks.
“It is hard to imagine an idea more foolish and more harmful than this,” said Ina Sofson, a member of parliament for the liberal Golos party. She also points out the health hazards: the pumps are not easy to walk on.
Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Olena Kondratyuk, calls the heel insulting and demands an apology from Minister Andrei Taran. The two politicians stress that female soldiers deserve respect for their role in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, where 13,500 women have served since the conflict broke out.
Angry messages are also raining down on social media. Journalist Vitaly Bortnikov accuses the ministry of “medieval mentality”, blogger Maria Shabranova talks about “sexism and misogyny.”
The status of 31,000 female soldiers in the Ukrainian army has been a concern for some time. In 2016, the United Nations published an investigation into their situation. “Every guy I’ve met here said I should be home with kids,” said one I interviewed. Uniforms are designed only for male soldiers. On the other hand, pumps were part of the standard equipment for female soldiers.
How long the latter will remain, however, remains to be seen. Defense Minister Taran promised to provide “better” and – not unimportant – safe and practical “shoes” as soon as possible.
This way the photos may still yield something.
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