Unfair: Ukrainian model Veronika Didusenko sues Miss World for disqualifying her for being a mum and divorcee
A beauty queen from Ukraine is taking legal action against the “sexist and outdated” Miss World contest after she was banned from participating for being a mother and divorcee.
A former Miss Ukraine stripped of her crown and barred from competing for Miss World because she is a mother has launched legal action against the contest, demanding a rule change.
"We demand a change of rules, @missworld" the 24-year-old Veronika Didusenko said on her Instagram on Monday after launching a campaign called #righttobeamother.
The 24-year-old was crowned Miss Ukraine in 2018, but was stripped of her title just four days later when it was revealed she was mother to Alex, now five, and was divorced.
The move sparked widespread controversy and outrage with many claiming it was “discriminatory” and “outdated”.
Ms Didusenko told BBC Newsbeat: “I didn’t expect to win and I didn’t have any intention to win because I have a professional modelling career, I have a pretty busy life… When it happened I was shocked”.
Veronika was barred from the Miss World competition for being a divorced mother. She gave birth to her son Alex at the age of 19 while she was a student.
She has accused organisers Miss World, which was created in 1951 by Eric Morley, leaving her “publicly humiliated”.
She told the Daily Star: “It was really humiliating when I was disqualified. I was very upset.I had to hand back the title, the crown and prize money.”
The Miss Ukraine winner is believed to won a crown worth €250,000 (£213,076) and a £10,000 monetary prize. Ms Didusenko was only Miss Ukraine for four days.
Since the competition began, it has always banned mothers or married women with contestants from 118 nations having to agree to these conditions to sign up to participate.
Ms Didusenko, an international model, admits she did wrongly declare she fit this criteria, but claims Miss Ukraine chiefs asked her to take part because of her high profile.
She told the Daily Star: “I can’t believe these rules still exist. They are archaic. I think they are breaching equalities laws.”
Miss World Chief Executive Julie Morley has previously said the rules are in place to protect children’s welfare.
The month long world modeling competition is currently ongoing in London with 130 contestants from around the globe. The pageant will culminate on the 14th of December 2019 when a new queen will be crowned.