Did you know it was legal for some companies to force women to wear high heels to work, and if they refuse to do so they can be sacked instantly without pay? For many women at work, high heels are a requirement not a choice, and choosing not to wear them can result in many females losing out on jobs and being publicly humiliated.
You would expect that today’s society has surpassed sexism and all the stereotypical stigma around women and the female gender. But that’s far from the truth with the ongoing issue of gender inequality a long way from resolved, and the unfair gender pay gap consistently being a problem left up in the air. Despite many of us challenging the gender stereotypes still around today, it seems the rest have all taken a step backwards when it comes to women in the workplace.
Nicola Thorp, a 27 year old woman who began working for a City firm in London, took her story of sexism and inequality to the media yesterday after she was sent home for refusing to wear high heels for her job as a receptionist, and laughed at when asking why she should wear heels when her male colleagues aren’t. And it seems this has been a difficulty for many others too.
For example in 2008 Freshfields took a hammering for reportedly advising its staff to “embrace” their femininity by wearing heels. And one veteran lawyer told Legal Cheek not long back about the time a corporate partner made clear he “was definitely not impressed” by her choice of footwear, a pair of comfy flats (come on what’s wrong with a pair of good old flats?)
But that was then and this is now some may say. However that is not the case, and little has changed. Unfortunately to-date there has always been a stereotypical and sexist representation of receptionists and secretaries. Both have always been seen as careers for females and not males, they have to dress and behave in a sexy/sexualised manner, and they have to wear high heels and a short skirt to conform to the dress code, to name just a few of the out-dated views society has. And all for the pleasure of men. Seems to me like the media are still playing the whole women are the weaker sex card and people are still falling for it and giving in to conforming to it.
High heels do not make up the image of a receptionist nor’ do short skirts. I believe everyone should have freedom to wear what they want and do whatever they wish to keep themselves comfortable, so in this case- wearing flats.
Sexism and inequality are both vulgar areas of society and every day life that need to disappear once and for all, and i think if everyone begins to challenge sexist stereotypes and fight for what they believe in, like Nicola, then we may finally hear the last about The High Heel Row and other sexist issues.
What do you think?