Veronika Didusenko, who was crowned Miss Ukraine in 2018, is fighting back against the Miss World for discrimination, reports the New York Times. She kept her title and prize money for four days before the company stripped her of her crown — for being a mother who is divorced. Yes, that's apparently against the rules for Miss World beauty pageant contestants. Cue all the forehead-slapping emoji.

But Didusenko is not backing down. She's taking legal action and wants to make sure this doesn't happen to another mom again.


1

Didusenko broke a rule that shouldn't exist in the first place.

As the Times reports, Didusenko was relieved of her crown when Miss World pageant officials learned that she was previously married and has a child — a rule that applies to all Miss World pageant affiliates as well, including Miss Ukraine and Miss World America.

2

She's enlisted serious heavy-hitters in the legal world to take up her case.

"I have launched a legal challenge against @MissWorld and this marks the new phase in our joint fight for justice," she announced on Instagram. "I am proud to be represented by Ravi Naik, Human Rights Lawyer of the Year 2018, and Leading Counsel Marie Demitriou QC."

As Didusenko explains, Demitriou represented Olympic runner Caster Semenya against invasive biological sex testing. Naik fought against Cambridge Analytica's use of racial profiling on Facebook ads.

3

Didusenko couldn't care less about her crown.

"I don’t want the crown back," she writes. For Didusenko, it's much larger than that. "I want to get the rules changed for wider society. These rules are a systemic, widespread and international policy that results in discrimination on a large scale across many countries."

4

She cites the British Equality Act as protecting her from discrimination.

According to Didusenko, the British Equality Act of 2010 should protect her employment on the basis of "certain characteristics, including marriage, maternity, and sex." The Miss World organization is based in England. "Denying me the chance of competing on those bases breaches those protections against discrimination."

5

Miss World responded to her legal action.

In a release, Miss World contends that Didusenko was stripped of her crown for "incorrect statements" on her application. In other words, she failed to disclose her marital and maternal status and was "was disqualified by the Miss Ukraine Organisation in accordance with their rules."

The reason for this blatantly discriminatory rule? Miss World must be "free and able to commit, often at short notice, to travel globally in support of the sick and disadvantaged which may be for long periods of time, often to areas devastated by natural disasters." We don't even have to get into how sexist it is to presume that mothers can't work at the same time.

6

Obviously, Didusenko is not having that explanation.

She responded to the Miss World statement, telling the Times, "Imagine you are Serena Williams going to play in Wimbledon, when suddenly you realize that the entry criteria bans moms from taking part in the games. Sounds shocking."