After a sexism outcry over Ukraine's decision to train female troops to march in high-heeled footwear, the nation's defence ministry said that it will provide soldiers "more comfortable" heels with a different kind of lacing. The Ministry of Defence had earlier required women soldiers to march in high heels in a parade to mark the 30th Independence anniversary of Ukraine from the Soviet Union. The move sparked criticism from people who said it was harmful to the health of soldiers.
Now, rather than scrapping the heeled shoes completely, Defence Minister Andriy Taran said that the new shoes will have "lower and more comfortable" heels. He said that there will be "a new model of footwear" with "lacing that will better hold the shoes while walking."
If the soldiers will "have a positive experience when testing this model," the shoes could become part of the ceremonial uniform for all female members of the military, the Defence Minister said in a statement.
The ministry said that the decision came after Andriy Taran met with female cadets and listened to their proposals, CNN reported.
The outcry over making female soldiers march in high heels, which according to Taran was first taken in 2017, started after local media picked up images that were published by the defence ministry last week.
Ukrainian lawmaker Inna Sovsun, who was a former cabinet member, called the move an "idiotic, harmful idea" and added that it sexualises female soldiers marching in the parade.
Deputy chairman of the Ukrainian parliament, Elena Kondratyuk with other parliament members from the "Equal Opportunities" called on the defence minister to reevaluate the move.
Meanwhile, Andriy Taran, reacting to the protest against the move, said that "some political forces simply inflated the issue out of nowhere."
"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," said Olga Stefanishina, vice prime minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine, in a statement on Facebook last week. According to her, there are currently 57,000 female soldiers in the Ukrainian armed forces.