Work dress codes, high heels, and patent sexism

Work dress codes, high heels, and patent sexism

Article summary taken from:

There are so many problems with the story of Nicola Thorp, the London receptionist who was sent home by her agency, Portico, without pay because she refused to wear high heels, it’s hard to know where to begin.

From a health and safety perspective, heels are bad for feet, joints and back. 

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but it’s true. I say this as someone with messed up feet as a result of years of tottering around in pretty but impractical high heels. I learned the hard way. Now I generally wear the kind of shoes that would get me sent home without pay if I was unlucky enough to temp for Portico. But you don’t want to read about my feet. Just look at the bleeding feet of a Canadian woman forced to wear heels for her job – or don’t if you’re squeamish.

Back in 2009, the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists – people who know a thing or two about shoes – put a motion to TUC Congress pointing out that,

“Wearing high heels can cause long term foot problems, such as blisters, corns and callus, to serious foot, knee and back pain, and damaged joints.”

And calling on

“all employers who have dress codes that promote high heels to examine the hazards their women workers face and ensure that proper risk assessments are carried out, and that where these show the wearing of high heels is hazardous they should be replaced with sensible and comfortable shoes”.

As I recall, the TUC was pilloried in the right wing press for being a bunch of rabid, lefty, feminists who just want to contravene women’s human right to wear stilettos (or something), when in fact we were just asking for employers to stop forcing women like Nicola Thorp into painful shoes.

Even for women who don’t find wearing heels painful and don’t give a fig about the bunion and corn filled future they have in store, they may simply prefer not to wear heels.

Read more at the Touchstone blog