In a story that reads a lot more like the 1950’s than 21st Century, Miss Ukraine, Veronica Didusenko, had her 2018 crown removed because she is a mom and not single. Fortunately because it is almost 2020, we have the Internet for support and some solid legal action (which she is most certainly taking) to challenge these types of actions.
The official rules, organized by the Miss World organization headquartered in the UK, hold that contestants must be both single and not a mother, which is a blatant violation of UK law.
Didusenko found a human rights lawyer who is advocating for her, and all future contestants, based on the Equality Act of 2010 which prohibits discrimination based on certain characteristics including marital status, maternal status, and sex/gender.
There has been no justification so far about why the official rules were written as such in the first place; it is somewhat baffling because the pageant winners representing each country are beauty icons, and surely there is some place for a mother or married/coupled woman in there?
Clearly the rules in place are remnants of a time or culture that is no longer (and that most are happy to leave in the past in favor of looking at broader, more empowering versions of beauty).
It’s important to rewrite these types of rules so that future contestants can live a life of their choosing outside of the pageant world, which may currently be adding pressures to delay amazing life events such as considering a wedding or having a baby. That kind of pressure and the resulting decisions are not only unnecessary, they are harmful especially mentally and emotionally. They are isolating and prevent women from receiving support in both their career and personal relationships, and they penalize women for taking on valuable roles such as being a mom.
Fortunately, the outcome of this suit will likely change these rules and allow for what should have always been the case: healthy appreciation of some of the world’s greatest beauty via healthy, happy, and empowered women!
To follow her story on social media, be sure to check the hashtag #righttobeamother which she features on her Instagram (@veronika_didusenko).