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Transmission

Ukrainian Female Students Protest Minister's 'Ugly' Insult

Ukrainian Education Ministry officials try (and fail) to mollify female protesters who were angry about comments by Education Minister Dmytro Tabachnyk, who said said female university students were not as attractive as other women.
Ukrainian Education Ministry officials try (and fail) to mollify female protesters who were angry about comments by Education Minister Dmytro Tabachnyk, who said said female university students were not as attractive as other women.
Ukraine's education minister is in hot water after saying that women at the highest levels of study in the country's university system are less attractive than other Ukrainian women.

Dmytro Tabachnyk said last week that the country's better graduate and post-graduate students "are girls who have a less bright, less attractive, and less model-like appearance."

A group of about 10 women who are graduate students or doctoral-level students at Ukrainian universities gathered in front of the Education Ministry in Kyiv on May 21 to complain about Tabachnyk's statement.

The women -- students of fields such as law, medicine, and education -- dressed in long gowns for the protest and carried placards saying, "I read that I am ugly!"

Each also held a university diploma to prove that they had obtained a four-year university degree in Ukraine.

The women demanded that Tabachnyk either apologize for his remarks or resign from his cabinet post.

Tabachnyk refused to meet with the women. But three men with lower-level posts in the ministry emerged from the building with bouquets of flowers during the demonstration, telling the protesters that they were, indeed, beautiful.

Comments Attributed To 'Tiredness'

The women refused to accept the flowers, saying they wanted Tabachnyk himself to apologize personally.

Earlier, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov took steps to distance himself from Tabachnyk's comments by posting an apology on his Facebook page. He said the education minister probably was "tired at work" when he made the remark.

WATCH: Ukrainian female university students protest derogatory remarks by Education Minister Dmytro Tabachnyk
Female Students In Kyiv Protest Minister's 'Ugly' Insulti
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May 21, 2012
Female graduate and post-graduate students protested in front of the Ukrainian Education Ministry on May 21 after Education Minister Dmytro Tabachnyk said that women at the highest levels of study in Ukraine are not as attractive as other women. (RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service)

Tabachnyk himself has the title of professor and the equivalent of a doctorate degree in history. He is currently a member of Ukraine's Academy of Legal Sciences.

Since his first week as Ukraine's education minister in March 2010, Tabachnyk has faced calls to resign from protesters that have included students at the Ukrainian Catholic University as well as members of the opposition Forward, Ukraine! party.

For years, those groups have accused Tabachnyk of "openly and publicly humiliating" Ukraine's intelligentsia, denigrating Ukraine's culture and language, and trying to vindicate the regime of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych shocked a luncheon at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January when he told investors that they should visit Ukraine in the spring "when it gets warm and women in Ukrainian cities begin taking off their clothes."

Yanukovych told the gathering, "You will see such beauty! It is very beautiful!"

-- Written by Ron Synovitz, based on reporting by Maryana Drach and Andriy Bashtovyy
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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Orysia from: Canada
May 22, 2012 15:02
What a yolop. Of course, Ukrainian women (and men) are beautiful -- visitors do acknowledge that -- notice it right away. But educations makes you unattractive?!?! What does HE look like? No big deal. Opening mouth to change feet. A doofus.
In Response

by: Taras from: Oz
May 23, 2012 00:04
Orysia, you are right on the money! The yolop belongs to the intelligentsia class of Kleptokovych and is obliged to spread the doctrine of a leader with a criminal record. After all who else would promote Ukraine to a World Economic Forum on the basis of women shedding their clothes.

by: Sey from: World
May 23, 2012 16:00
This only comes to show every women regardless of her intellectual capacity is more interested to have the beauty of a model than the brains of a scientist.

I bet if the Minister called them "mentally challenged" they wouldn't have make such a big out of it.

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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