Ukraine’s Defence Ministry has decided to have female soldiers march in high heels instead of army boots at a parade next month to celebrate the country’s independence day.
The Defence Ministry of Ukraine has released photographs of female soldiers practising for the military parade which will be held on August 24. The soldiers have been reportedly training twice a day, for an average of four hours daily, to master the steps.
However, the Defence Ministry’s decision has sparked controversy and criticism from local lawmakers.
Along with the pictures, the ministry said the cadets were from the Military Institute at the Taras Shevchenko National University in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv.
However, the post resulted in furious outrage online. Some commenters questioned the choice of footwear and called it “torture”. Politicians, too, slammed the plan, NBC News reported.
In a Facebook post, Elena Kondratyuk, the Vice-Speaker of the country’s Parliament, called the pictures ”ferocious trash”. She also called on Defence Minister Andriy Taran to conduct an investigation, citing the constitution which guarantees equality for all.
Former Defence Minister Andriy Zagorodnyuk called it “a step towards North Korea.”
Opposition member of parliament Iryna Gerashchenko said that the defence ministry’s decision was “sexism and not equality”. She added that she initially thought the images of the women soldiers marching in army fatigue and heels was a hoax, BBC reported.
Nearly 57,000 women serve in the Ukrainian armed forces, CNN quoted Olga Stefanishina, vice prime minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine, as saying in a Facebook post in Ukrainian.
But the Defence Ministry responded to the criticism in another Facebook post by sharing images of female soldiers in other countries marching in parades while wearing heels.
This year will mark 30 years of Ukraine’s independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union.