NASA Launches First All-Female Spacewalk With Astronauts Christina Koch And Jessica Meir dimitrisvetsikas/ Pixabay

Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense is caught in a controversy after official photographs showed female soldiers practising for a parade, stomping around in heels. The women from the Ukranian armed forces were doing drill marching parade practice for the 30th anniversary of its independence from the Soviet Union on August 24. Local lawmakers were quick to voice their distaste at the decision to require female soldiers to march in uncomfortable high heels.

According to the BBC, the female soldiers have been training twice a day to master the steps but foregoing army boots for high heeled pumps have caused much anger from the parliament opposition, as well as other lawmakers.

Iryna Gerashchenko, an opposition member of parliament, said it was sexism, not equality. However, the defence ministry says the shoes are part of the regulation-dress uniform.

Elena Kondratyuk, deputy chairman of the Ukrainian parliament, joined members of parliament from the "Equal Opportunities" cross-party group to call on Defense Minister Andrei Taran to reevaluate his decision to require high heels while marching.

"Shoes with heels are incompatible with the combat capability of soldiers, and a 'Prussian' step on a parade in such shoes is a deliberate harm to the health of soldiers," reads the statement, posted by Olga Stefanishina, vice prime minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine on her Facebook Friday.

In the statement she said: "Shoes with heels are incompatible with the combat capability of soldiers, and a 'Prussian' step on a parade in such shoes is a deliberate harm to the health of soldiers.”

The defense ministry responded to the criticism and uploaded a series of pictures to Facebook of female soldiers from other armies wearing high heels.

To argue their point, Stefanishina and other cosignatories of her statement pointed out that while the armies of some NATO member countries issue high heels to women as part of their dress uniform, these they said are not worn while marching in parades.

Following their statement, the officials called on the ministry to replace the mid-heeled black pumps, appoint a gender adviser as well as carry out a survey of women in the security and defense sector to find out how they feel about working conditions which included their thoughts and opinions on uniforms.

Following the criticism, Defense minister Taran said on Saturday that it will issue "new, improved footwear" for female soldiers, while ordering his deputies to look into a more ergonomic footwear at the shortest possible time.

Representation Image Military Women Marching dimitrisvetsikas/Pixabay

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