Historically, women serving in the Ukrainian military have had to make do with uniforms and ballistic armor designed for their male counterparts or seek alternative sources for gear. However, on December 27, the Defense Ministry announced the certification of a of bulletproof vest sample tailored specifically for female soldiers. A move that addresses a longstanding issue and underscores the vital role played by over 62,000 women in Ukraine’s Armed Forces.
Designed for Optimal Fit and Protection
The recently approved body armor, developed by the domestic company Ukrainian Armor, boasts a curved hard armor plate and narrower shoulders to provide a superior fit for female soldiers. Weighing at least 10.5 kilograms, the armor aligns with the weight standards of standard military body armor. The approval follows a meticulous testing process, including field tests, during which the armor design was refined to enhance the overall fit for the female body.
A Milestone Towards Inclusive Combat Gear
This certification is not an isolated effort towards gender inclusivity in the Ukrainian military. In August, the Defense Ministry had already approved a standard sample of summer field uniforms tailored for female soldiers, demonstrating a commitment to addressing the specific needs of women in active duty.
Next Steps: Procurement and Deployment
While the certification is a significant milestone, the Defense Ministry is yet to determine the number of vests required and arrange procurement. The timeline for distributing these certified vests for combat use remains unspecified. The certification, however, paves the way for a future where female soldiers can benefit from gear designed to ensure their safety and effectiveness in active combat roles.
The certification of female-specific body armor by Ukraine’s Defense Ministry is a commendable step towards creating a more inclusive and equitable environment within the country’s Armed Forces. As women continue to play pivotal roles in national defense, providing them with tailored protective equipment acknowledges their contributions and reinforces the commitment to gender equality within the military. This historic move signals not only a significant improvement in safety measures but also highlights the ongoing progress towards fostering a more inclusive armed forces community.