Petition Demands Ban On Inclusion Of Heels In Office Dress Codes

May 16, 2016  |  



I will never forget some of my professor’s parting words during our final days in my Media, Culture, and Society class: “In addition to their desire to objectify us, men only want women to wear heels in the workplace because they slow us down, ultimately making us appear as weaker competitors in their eyes.” Truest words ever spoken.

Out of all of the office environments I’ve worked in, heels have always been an optional part of the dress code. You can wear them if you feel inclined to do so, but they certainly have never been a requirement. Unfortunately, some working women haven’t been so lucky, and now, women everywhere are calling for reform.

Nicole Thorp of London, who was sent home without pay from her temp job as a receptionist at finance company PwC because she didn’t wear heels, started an Internet petition urging the parliament to protect women from these kinds of dress codes. The petition reads:

It’s still legal in the UK for a company to require female members of staff to wear high heels at work against their will. Dress code laws should be changed so that women have the option to wear flat formal shoes at work, if they wish. Current formal work dress codes are out-dated and sexist.

In an interview with BBC London, Thorp alleged that she was told by her employer that she is required to wear shoes with a “2 to 4-inch heel.” She refused and argued that her male counterparts were not being obligated to adhere to the same dress code.

“I said ‘if you can give me a reason as to why wearing flats would impair me to do my job today, then fair enough’, but they couldn’t,” she explained. “I was expected to do a nine-hour shift on my feet escorting clients to meeting rooms. I said ‘I just won’t be able to do that in heels.”

Mashable was informed by a PwC spokesperson that heels are not required by their company dress code and explained that they were in talks with outsourcing firm Portico regarding the policy.

So far, Thorp’s petition has garnered over 130,000 signatures.

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