Oh, I’m afraid this one got my back up a bit. A temporary receptionist arrived for work at a finance company, and was told that she had to wear shoes with a 2 – 4 inch heel. She refused, knowing she would have struggled to walk around for a full day in high heels, and was laughed at when pointing out that male colleagues were not asked to do the same. She was sent home without pay, and says “I think dress codes should reflect society and nowadays women can be smart and formal and wear flat shoes. Aside from the debilitating factor, it’s the sexism issue. I think companies shouldn’t be forcing that on their female employees.”.
She has since set up a petition calling for the law to be changed so that women cannot be forced to wear high heels at work. It has had more than 10,000 signatures, and so the government will now have to respond.
As far as the law stands, employers can dismiss staff who fail to live up to “reasonable” dress code demands, as long as they’ve been given enough time to buy the right shoes and clothes. Employers can set up different codes for men and women, as long as there’s an “equivalent level of smartness”. Of course some women prefer to wear high heels, and that’s their choice, but it should not be forced upon the whole female workforce. I only wore high heels once in my life. I was about 18, and fell off of them in Lewisham High Street, twisted my ankle, and tore my bell-bottom trousers. I never wore them again.
This whole scenario is what happens when a few (usually younger) misguided male employers have unrealistic expectations of what women should look like, based on what they have viewed through a myriad of misogynistic media outlets. They have no consideration for the damage to women’s feet, spines and calf muscles through stumbling around in unsuitable footwear all day. Through their crass demands, they are unwittingly giving out the impression to some of the more affronted women that they are just air-heads who are put upon the earth for man’s sexual gratification. Grr!!!