Ukraine’s defense minister is trying to reverse plans for female cadets to walk in heels in Independence Day celebrations next month after critics called on him to shelve the idea.
Defense Minister Andriy Taran originally planned for women to parade in black high-heeled pumps for the August 24 parade, which will mark the 30th anniversary of Ukraine’s declaration of independence from the Union. Soviet.
Social media users and several government officials have lambasted the idea, calling it outdated, sexist and insulting. Some even asked Taran to walk a mile in their shoes – or in this case, heels – on the parade.
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âThe purpose of any military parade is to demonstrate the military capability of the army. There should be no room for stereotypes and sexism, âsaid three cabinet members in a joint statement released over the weekend.
Officials also pointed out that around 57,000 women serve in the Ukrainian armed forces and that they “have proven their worth not with heels, but with machine guns.”
Elena Kondratyuk, deputy speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, called the plans “ferocious trash” in a Facebook post, while former defense minister Andriy Zagorodnyuk called it “a step towards North Korea”.
Opposition politician Iryna Gerashchenko called the idea “humiliation”.
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry sparked controversy last week, when it released photos of the cadets performing their parade in heels at Taras Shevchenko National University in Kyiv. Cadets wear camouflage pants, shirts and hats with their black pumps.
The ministry then defended itself in a Facebook post, where it pointed out that heels are part of women’s military uniform in many other countries.
Taran visited the cadets and acknowledged the controversy on Saturday, saying he had asked officials to research “experimental” shoes for women. Local reports say these “experimental” shoes are ankle boots.
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The ministry said in a statement on Saturday that the outcry had “revealed a number of shortcomings” with his official uniform for women.
âIt is just awkward for military women to walk in such shoes,â he said.
Taran did not explain why women should wear different shoes from men.
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