Ukraine’s military criticized for making female students march in heels
Female military students exercise goose-stepping as part of the Independence Day preparations on July 1, 2021.Photo by ArmyInform
Ukraine’s military have faced fierce criticism over making female cadets to march wearing heeled shoes, as part of preparations for a military parade in Kyiv to celebrate Ukraine’s 30th Independence Day.
On July 1, the Armed Force’s mouthpiece, the ArmyInform, published photos showing students of Military Institute of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv practicing marching.
According to the military, the upcoming Aug. 24 military parade in Ukraine’s capital envisages a standalone female section represented by the institute’s cadets. So the young women have three months to exercise the marching twice a day — for a total of four hours daily.
The students are expected to wear parade uniforms, which for women includes heeled shoes rather than usual boots that they wear during exercises.
Moreover, according to the military, the women had to practice “a new standard marching style” under which they have to lift their feet by between 10 and 15 centimeters instead of 15-20 centimeters under old regulations.
The publication triggered a stir in Ukraine’s social media and beyond.
Many accused the military of forcing the women into senseless square-bashing and wearing heels during long marches.
Facing a torrent of criticism, the Defense Ministry disabled comments on its Facebook page.
The Female Veteran Movement, a civic group, called the ordeal “fierce shame.”
“Girls serve wearing the same uniform as guys do,” the organization said on July 2. “Why do they have to suffer the long exercises in heels? Those who bear and implement this idea of making the military wear heels and walk on hot summer asphalt — are you doing alright? Is this so you can behold ‘the female pearl of the military’ while comfortably sitting at the stands? Cease the heels and skirts, cease the Soviet mindset forever as rotting garbage. Show the world the Ukrainian woman — the brave, courageous, undefeated warrior.”
Later on July 2, Maryna Bardyna, a lawmaker with 244-member faction Servant of the People, said she earlier had had a conversation with Defense Minister Andriy Taran who allegedly said “there will be different shoes during the parade.”
However, the Defense Ministry did not confirm any changes to personnel outfits introduced as a result of the scandal.
(c)KYIV POST 2021