What do you feminists still lack in the army

Let’s be honest: what is it really like to be a woman in the military?

Nadia Garan — sergeant of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, simultaneous translator, liaison officer. In this author essay, Nadia shares her vision of what women are missing in the military. About career growth, support, uniform and personal medicine – read a real view of things from the Ukrainian military.

What do you feminists still lack in the army?!

After the news about the military registration of women and the regulation of men’s emigration abroad, in the swamps you can only hear that “feminists should fight for the right of men to emigrate” (spoiler: no) and “you were “let” into the army, which you still don’t enough.”

And no, military girls do not “whine”, military girls grit their teeth and pull out what the vast majority of people, both male and female, will not pull out. Just if you want to understand a little better how it is, you can look at this.

The first and most painful. Material support. Women in the 9th year of the war do not have uniforms designed for women’s physiques. Yes, they still don’t have it. No, “everyday” and “routine” are not the first things that had to be developed and tested, and you most likely saw them in the news. No, you can “just take and order” only men’s (if not from far abroad, wait for a month and there is no guarantee that it will fit). No, the knee pads in men’s and women’s uniforms are not the same height, nor are the thigh and leg structures the same. “Men’s” length and width, even if they fit, are still somewhere too big/small. No, body armor for women is not issued either. No, there are none at TM “Balistica”, none at all. Yes, breasts up to the third size also shake on the off-road under the bumper and they also hurt. No, underwear for women is not issued either. And they do not develop. It was all over with poor efforts with pink ruffles and the Ukrainian Army cross. No, they don’t sell or develop on sites like “Militarist” either. Yes, walking in a men’s thermal underwear with a pocket “for two grenades” between the legs is exhausting. All the developments “for women in the Armed Forces”, for which significant sums were allocated, ended with uncomfortable heels, sexualized over-the-knee boots, I don’t know why at all, and a mock-up of underpants with a seam right in the middle, so that depending on the physiological characteristics on the marches you would get either bloody abrasions or multiple orgasms So that you have them somewhere!

Next is medicine. And without that, it is mostly provided by volunteers. But the maximum that comes for girls in boxes with humanitarian aid is pads. Often without individual packaging to put in your pocket. Which do not allow comfortable, free movement. You won’t find tampons in stores in most cities nearby, pharmacies are also mostly closed. And about such things as fast-acting drugs for thrush, vaginal applicators for suppositories in case “there is no place to wash your hands” and powders for cystitis – you can’t even dream. Yes, they can be ordered online. If you don’t look at the kilometer-long (I’m not kidding) line in the two nearest cities where the post office works. We also do not have a free choice of doctors. Even after the end of the contract, I could undergo military medical commission at only one gynecologist, because she is the only one in the main hospital of Kyiv, and she is terrible. Saying that they used to do this in the scoop, and now they are being caressed, she tries to unscrew your nipples like a rusty nut from “Zhiguli” to check for something there, while pregnant girls simply scandalously bring her certificates from private doctors with the words “I will not give this monster touch your child”. But hey, it’s fun to give birth, you can always leave the mobilization after getting pregnant, yeah… Oh, what, is there pregnancy support for the military? Lol, no.

The third is career growth. Only in 2018, women in the Armed Forces were allowed by law to occupy the same positions as men. Until recently, only a woman could go on parental leave, even if she is higher than a man in terms of rank, does more work and earns more. Although they exhaled here. Well, and of course, no man has yet faced the fact that when he is accepted into the service, he is refused because of his gender (no, they do not have the right, at all), they are not sent for promotion “because there is another man here, he has a family to feed “, called “decoration of the team” and not perceived as a specialist. Cleaning or cooking is also expected from women for some reason – “you are a housewife.” Women are also scolded for motherhood or smoking: expectant mothers week! And what did I miss, that men’s spermatozoa do not lose their viability due to smoking, alcohol and stress, and all this does not affect the health of the future child? The decoration of the collective is a ficus tree. A woman in the army is a combat unit, period.

These are just a few examples that show the huge gaps in the system. We still fight and serve not thanks to, but in spite of. Everything that women in the army have achieved over the years is the merit of girls who tirelessly beat the rock of sexism, combining it with service, activists who tirelessly fight for equal rights enshrined in law, and volunteers who undertake development, tailoring, testing, procurement from all possible sources, delivery everywhere and consideration of feedback on what is really needed by military personnel in the war.

And when we finally have women’s field uniforms, women’s winter uniforms, women’s military shoes, women’s hygiene products, women’s medicines, but there will be no positions, promotions, duties in the army for women or men, I will finally sit down, mope, smoke and I will tell all about it – if I live – already to my grandchildren. And then no one will believe me that it was so.