Miss World Takes Back Winning Title From Woman After Realising She Is A Mother. What Is This Discrimination?
Everyday, during lunch or dinner table conversations, I hear my people talk optimistically about how the times are changing for women and things are looking. But honestly, at this point I feel too tired to even roll my eyes at this! So forget about investing my energy in telling them just how wrong or oblivious they are. Because last I checked, women are still subjected to prejudice and maybe things have changed but only marginally. The only significant change I have noticed is women speaking up for themselves.
I am not trying to be cynical but rather realistic about the truth. At the risk of sounding like a jilted feminist to some, I’d say there is still a long way to go, and we aren’t even close to where we should have been. And it’s not just India that’s plagued with biases and unsolicited pressures because it seems like people around the world are still not ready for women to take the lead, without fitting in their definition of perfect. We say this after having observed how four days after Veronika Didusenko, a Ukrainian model won the title of Miss Ukraine 2018, the Miss World officials took her title away upon finding out that she is a mother.
It all started when the Pageant Officials pointed out how Veronika had broken the rules of the Pageant that explicitly demanded the contestants to never have given birth to a child. Miss Ukraine here, however who had a 5 year old son was encouraged by the Pageant organisers to go ahead anyway. Why? Apparently, as a way to overturn their absurd rule of not letting young mothers compete, and that too for a title that should have no bearing on a woman’s reproductive history.
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Dear friends, I am happy to share the exciting news with you. Today #righttobeamother has made a huge leap forward. I have launched a legal challenge against @MissWorld and this marks the new phase in our joint fight for justice. ⠀ I am proud to be represented by Ravi Naik, Human Rights Lawyer of the Year 2018, and Leading Counsel Marie Demitriou QC. Ravi represents clients in some of the world’s most high profile cases. This includes the first case against #CambridgeAnalytica for political profiling and claims against Facebook for their data practices. Marie Demitriou was a barrister on the legal team acting for South African athlete Caster Semenya who was subjected to sex testing following her victory at the 2009 World Championships. ⠀ We say that under the #EqualityAct 2010 the entry policy operated by #MissWorld is discriminatory on various grounds, namely marital status, and pregnancy and maternity. The Equality Act protects against discrimination based on certain characteristics, including marriage, maternity and sex. The reason I was not allowed to compete in Miss World after winning the title #MissUkraine is because I had been married and have a child. Denying me the chance of competing on those bases breaches those protections against discrimination. ⠀ I don’t want the crown back. I want to get the rules changed for wider society. These rules are a systemic, widespread and international policy that results in discrimination on large scale across many countries. ⠀ This year the 69th Miss World Final returns to London on 14 December 2019. We believe it is the right moment for @MissWorld to introduce the change. ⠀ I am really glad to see that our story has resonated with the UK national media such as @dailymail, @telegraph, @thesun, @skynews, @thetimes, @bbcnews, @bbcnewsbeat, @dailymirror🌍 ⠀ Photo credit: David McHugh/Brighton Pictures
Also Read : All Of The Miss India Contestants Are Fair With Silky, Straight Hair. Kya *Bakwaas* Hai Yeh?
In an interview with BBC’s Radio 1 Newsbeat, Veronika Didusenko opened up about the entire fiasco and shared how she felt motivated to compete despite knowing the policy and even now doesn’t regret it. She said, “Why should a woman be excluded from entering just because she’s a mother? It doesn’t make any sense.” We completely agree with her. But this is not just about sitting on the benches and debating about the issue; it’s about taking steps to bring about a change. Not willing to stand on the sidelines any longer, Veronika chose to take a stand bringing by taking legal action against the Miss World organisation.
People need to realise that such rules are not just plain unnecessary but also highly demeaning and unfair to mothers with equal ambition. We are hoping Veronika’s stand will bring them closer to that realisation. It is time and it has been for a long while, that people and especially industries as such stop turning a blind eye to what is real, in an attempt to sell us a fabricated version of beauty. As if it wasn’t enough that women in general face prejudice, such pageants went ahead and sub-categorised it and shun the mothers even lower in the laddle.
But clearly, not anymore. Veronika Didusenko made an announcement to challenge Miss World in an Instagram post with a caption that doesn’t just call them out, but also sounds like a blowing horn for a battle of equality and justice. Her post read, “We say that under the #EqualityAct 2010 the entry policy operated by #MissWorld is discriminatory on various grounds, namely marital status, and pregnancy and maternity. The Equality Act protects against discrimination based on certain characteristics, including marriage, maternity and sex.”
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My dear followers!❤️ ⠀ I’m so impressed, happy, proud and overwhelmed with our media coverage in the UK🇬🇧. ⠀ I can’t believe we could raise so much awareness to our campaign #righttobeamother which aims to change the discriminatory entry requirements of international beauty pageants to allow all women to participate. ⠀ I would like to see #missworld @missworld and the other global running beauty pageants which seem to be stuck in the dark ages lift all entry restrictions so that these competitions are truly representative of all women in society today🌍. ⠀ Thousands of people have supported my campaign #righttobeamother across social media and I regularly receive thank you notes. I’m grateful to each one of you!!! Nothing would happen without your support, inspiration, help, courage, all of the stories you shared with me. ⠀ THANK YOU!
She continued by writing, “The reason I was not allowed to compete in Miss World after winning the title #MissUkraine is because I had been married and have a child. Denying me the chance of competing on those bases breaches those protections against discrimination. I don’t want the crown back. I want to get the rules changed for wider society. These rules are a systemic, widespread and international policy that results in discrimination on large scale across many countries.”
Hoping to turn the game around before the 69th Miss World Final in December, she is dead set on taking her initiative of #righttobeamother ahead and we are all for it. After all someone had to call out the discriminatory and distasteful platform that Miss World has become, feigning their interest in empowering women, when they can’t even stand for her to be a mother. People need to make themselves comfortable to the idea of a woman being more than just her body, and her face and accept that she could also be a mother and inspire millions, and many a times not despite of it but because of it.