A Beauty pageant and former Miss World has lost her fight against changing the rules for entrants.
Veronika Didusenko lost her Miss Ukraine crown and was banned from Miss World competitions after it was revealed that she had been married, divorced, and had a young son.
Last year the disqualified beauty brought her case against the London-based contest to the Equality and Human Rights Commission. She branded Miss World’s rules “outdated” and claimed its ban was in breach of the Equalities Act.
But the Commission has ruled that beauty pageants and such competition entries only affect “a very small number of women” and the rules should not have to change to reflect this.
Speaking of the Miss World competition, the Commission said “these rules set strict entry limitations on the maternal and marital status of contestants. Pursuing the claim (Veronika Didusenko) would not advance the competition organisers strategic priority aims”, adding that Ms Didusenko’s case was “atypical”.
The Ukrainian model has decried the decision and claimed that the entry rules of beauty pageants will have an impact on the aspirations of millions. She said: “I am disappointed by the Commission’s response. I want these rules to change so that all women who want to enter beauty pageants can do so.
Julia Morley, the Miss World chief executive, has maintained that competition rules exist to protect children’s welfare, as winners endure busy working schedules. But Ms Didusenko argued: “It is possible to fulfil your role as a parent and a professional woman with a successful career.”
She further commented, “In 2019 more than 900 million people watched the Miss World Final in 140 countries. In the same year there was a record number of applications (more than 20,000) to Miss England. This disproves the Commission’s opinion that the pageant industry only involves a ‘small number of women’, and highlights their complete disregard for its global reach.”
The ruling coincides with the release of the film Misbehaviour, starring Keira Knightly, which follows the events of the 1970 Miss World final which became mired in protests about women’s rights, apartheid and equality.