Ukraine Slammed Over ‘Medieval’ Plans For Female Soldiers March

by : Hannah Smith on : 03 Jul 2021 16:09
Ukraine Slammed Over 'Medieval' Plans For Female Soldiers MarchPA Images

Ukraine’s military has been accused of sexism over plans to make its female soldiers march in heels during an upcoming parade.

At first glance, a recent photo published by the country’s defence ministry appeared to show a group of female soldiers in camouflage fatigues rehearsing ahead of the march, but people quickly noticed that rather than the combat boots typically warn by soldiers, the women were marching in black heels.


Aside from being an obvious clash with the combat outfits, the decision to make female soldiers march in heels was quickly condemned by many Ukrainians as outdated and sexist, with one commentator describing it as ‘a disgrace’ and proof of the military’s ‘medieval’ mindset.

Ukrainian soldiers practice marching in heels (Ukraine Ministry of Defence)Ukraine Ministry of Defence

One MP, Iryna Gerashchenko, said she at first thought the picture was a hoax, and that the plans were the result of sexism, not equality, BBC News reports.

A group of opposition lawmakers has since called on Ukraine’s Defence Minister Andriy Taran to apologise for the decision, with several MPs bringing pairs of heels into parliament in protest at the ‘humiliating’ dress code.


Lawmakers also pointed out that forcing female soldiers to march in heels carried health risks, with walking long distances in heels thought to put unnecessary stress on the wearer’s feet and legs. In comments published by the Ukrainian Defence Ministry and reported by The Guardian, one of the soldiers involved in the rehearsals said ‘it is slightly harder than in army boots but we are trying’.

More than 30,000 women serve in Ukraine's armed forces (PA Images)PA Images

There are currently more than 31,000 women serving in Ukraine’s armed forces, including 4,000 officers, with 13,500 women having participated in the ongoing conflict with Russia in the east of the country.

The pictures was taken from rehearsals for a military parade set to take place next month to celebrate 30 years of Ukrainian independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.


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Hannah Smith

Hannah Smith is a London-based journalist at UNILAD. After studying History at UCL she worked for print publications on both sides of the pond, including spells at Harper's Magazine and The Times, before graduating with an MA in Newspaper Journalism from City, University of London.

Topics: News, military, no-article-matching, Now, Sexism, shoes, Ukraine


BBC News
  1. BBC News

    Ukraine plans for women to march in high heels spark outrage