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Ukrainian beauty queen who was forced to give up crown sues for discrimination

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Ukrainian beauty queen who was forced to give up crown sues for discrimination
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The Ukrainian beauty queen who was forced to give up her title is suing for discrimination.

Veronika Didusenko won the 2018 Miss Ukraine beauty-pageant. But then, after just four days, she was forced to give up her crown once the Miss World organisation, with which the Ukrainian competition is affiliated, found out she was divorced and had a son.

Euronews spoke to Didusenko:

“The fact that I am a mother was never an issue. My motherhood or the fact that I was married had no implications on my ability to be a professional fashion model or a charity worker or Miss Ukraine.

“I want them to change those entry restrictions so that beauty-pageants are truly inclusive for all women, so they can celebrate all women equally. I feel like we all have the power to change rules that we feel are outdated or discriminatory or wrong.”

Requirements for participants:

  • Age 17-25 years
  • Height 168 cm minimum
  • Ukrainian citizenship
  • Not married previously or currently
  • No children
  • No previous conviction, no bad habits

In a statement, Yuri Ageiev, the head of the Miss Ukraine committee said Didusenko had agreed to the rules from the moment she filled in her application form. And he also said that the hectic schedule of the Miss Ukraine winner was unsuitable for women with children because it: “may negatively affect the upbringing of a small child who will be deprived of his mother’s love.”

The Miss World organisers also said in a statement that the rules were set with the aim of finding a winner: “who is free and able to commit, often at short notice, to travel globally in support of the sick and disadvantaged which may be for long periods of time, often to areas devastated by natural disasters.”

But Didusenko is unconvinced and insists the rules made her feel humiliated and are insulting. She hopes Miss World change their rules to allow mothers and married or divorced women to participate in their beauty-pageants in the future.

Watch Veronika Didusenko's interview in the player above.