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What was meant to be a display of the next generation of the Ukrainian army has exploded into an outcry for women's rights in the country.

As part of a demonstration to commemorate the country’s 30th independence anniversary next month, dozens of female cadets were ordered to march in their army fatigues and a pair of high heels. The demonstration took place in front of Ukraine's ministry of defence offices.

Several complaints by politicians, women's rights groups and even the cadets themselves eventually led to the army changing their minds about the high heels.

One politician commented that she thought it might be a hoax at first, and that she was shocked to find out it wasn't fake news. The female cadets were indeed required to march with high heels while wearing their army fatigues.

In a Facebook post, the Ukrainian ministry of defence wrote on Friday that other countries require servicewomen to wear heels, and that the dress code came from a 2017 decree. That stance took a u-turn when, on Saturday, the defence minister himself told cadets that "improved" and "ergonomic" shoes would be made available "in the shortest possible time".

The Irish Times reports that there are more than 31,000 women in the country's armed forces, including more than 4,000 who are officers.

Image credit: Metro

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