OBLIGED TO WEAR HIGH HEELS

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A lot of women often claim that heels give them better stature, thus making them feel more confident and productive at the workplace. But not all women share this sentiment, and neither should they.

At the time of writing, a petition in the UK has recently reached over 90,000 signatures to abolish a law that allows employers to oblige their female workers to wear 2 to 4 inch heels at the workplace. This call for change has been initiated by drama graduate Nicola Thorp, after having been dismissed for refusing to wear heels for her job as a receptionist. Upon arriving in smart flats to her new job, she was asked to purchase a pair of high heels or seek employment elsewhere, without getting paid for her time.

When objecting to this by pointing out that men were allowed to wear flat shoes, Ms Thorp was mocked for suggesting that men wear heels, and that it was part of their ‘female grooming policy’. After quitting her post, she contacted the employment’s rights hotline to clarify what had happened, but was informed that the company had the right to impose a dress code on both male and female employees. Therefore, she was not being discriminated against, since her male colleagues are obliged to wear a shirt and tie.

Ms Thorp’s argument is that the law is outdated and sexist due to the sexualising and objectifying element of heels, and that shirts and ties are not the male equivalent of women’s heels and make up. If she gains over 100,000 signatures, the appeal will be able to reach parliament, in the hope that this law will be obliterated.

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Image: Nicola Thorpe

Do you think women should be forced to wear heels in the workplace?

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