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Defense Ministry approves first body armor for female soldiers

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk December 27, 2023 7:31 PM 2 min read
The newly-certified body armor for female soldiers, which was announced by the Defense Ministry on Dec. 27. (Defense Ministry of Ukraine / Telegram) 
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Women serving in the Ukrainian military will be provided with specially designed body armor for the first time, after Ukraine's Defense Ministry announced on Dec. 27 that it had certified a sample of bulletproof vests for female soldiers.

While Ukraine only conscripts men, over 62,000 women voluntarily serve in Ukraine's Armed Forces, 5,000 of whom have active combat roles.

They generally rely on uniforms and armor designed for men, or buy their own gear or find supplies via non-profits.

The newly approved vest features a curved armor plate and narrower shoulders to provide a better fit for female soldiers, and is made domestically by the company Ukrainian Armor.

The company led a campaign in September to draw attention to the need for body armor for women serving in the Ukrainian military.

‘She needs armor.’ Female Ukrainian soldiers call for equality
Many passersby raise their heads when walking past the Princess Olga monument in downtown Kyiv. Some even stop, gazing at the statue with surprise. Although it has been there for years, it seems the monument has never gotten as much attention as it has in recent weeks. In early September,

The weight of the armor, which is at least 10.5 kilograms, does not differ from other body armor in use.

According to the Defense Ministry, the vest was approved after two stages of testing. After the first stage of field tests, the design was refined to fit the female body better.

Certification is the first step in the process toward female soldiers being able to wear the vests in the combat zone.

The Defense Ministry said it must first ascertain how many vests are needed and then arrange procurement, but did not indicate a timeline for this.

The Defense Ministry approved a standard sample of summer field uniforms for female soldiers in August, 18 months into the full-scale invasion.

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