If you haven’t heard about this story already I’ll give you a quick run down. Nicola Thorp, a 27-year-old actress from Hackney in London, turned up at a temping job at PriceWaterhouse Cooper (PwC) in flat shoes.
No big news story surely? Well, you’d think not.
Nicola Thorp works as a temp to top up her income and is therefore used to starting in new offices fairly often, probably without issue. However, when she arrived at PwC on December 7th last year in her flat shoes she was told that she would have to wear high heels between 2-4 inches. Ms Thorp challenged that by pointing out men don’t wear them. She was laughed at. The woman who told her to wear heels said she could go out and by heels and then she could come and work for them.
Nicola decided that the job wasn’t for her and rightly so. Her temping agency Portico is the one with the policy. Who is at fault is a matter of debate but seriously, in 2016 do why we still have this attitude that women must look and dress a certain way?
Fair enough, PwC want someone who looks neat and tidy to be the first face a person sees when walking through their front door. What does high heels have to do with that?
There is some thought that PwC being the big powerful company that it is wants to show how perfect it is and how powerful it is and how important it is in the business world so therefore want tall, thin, beautiful, long-legged, perfect women to be the first face the fat cats see as they walk through the door. Still, what does that have to do with high heels? Because they make the leg look longer, sexier? Well, that’s just plan sexist that is.
Do the high heels make this woman at the desk any better at her job or would she actually work better if her feet weren’t nipping with the heels she’s being forced to wear 9-5 or whatever their hours are. And, if it’s all about beauty perfection and high heels where does that leave the rest of us, the ones who don’t have unblemished skin? We’re under 5’11, we’re not size 6, we can’t wear, or don’t want to wear heeled shoes. Hundred of housands of women automatically not considered for a job because they aren’t “perfect”.
I’m not a feminist. I believe in equality though so therefore, if anyone insists on their staff wearing heels then that extends to their male employees as well. Fair’s fair. Also, why do they need to have a female on reception? Men can do the job aswell, you know.
So now it all starts to sound a bit daft. If men have to wear heels…well, that’s just not the done thing. It’s the women who wear heels. What men have to wear is smart comfortable shoes and that should be the dress code for women as well. If those comfortable shoes happen to be high heels for some women then that’s fine, but if smart comfortable is flat heel then that should be fine too.
If you’d told me at the beginning of this week I’d writing a blog about shoe discrimination I would have laughed and bought you a pint for making me laugh. However, here it is, in 2016 writing a blog about that.
Apart from insisting that women wear heels being complete madness, the wearing of the high heel can cause a lot of damage to a woman’s body from her toes and up to her back. This paragraph from The American Osteopathic Association’s article “The Real Harm in High Heels” details some of the damage that can be done by wearing high heels regularly.
Those perfect pumps can create the perfect storm for permanent health problems. If you frequently wear high heels, you are setting yourself up for long-term issues. “Extended wear of high heels and continually bending your toes into an unnatural position can cause a range of ailments, from ingrown toenails to irreversible damage to leg tendons. Additionally, cramming your toes into a narrow toe box can cause nerve damage and bunions,” says Dr. Nevins. “High heels have also been linked to overworked or injured leg muscles, osteoarthritis of the knee, plantar fasciitis and low back pain,” she adds.
According to Dr. Nevins, when you wear high heels – shoes with a heel two inches or higher – your foot slides forward in your shoe, forcing the toes into the unnatural shape of the shoe and redistributing your weight incorrectly. The increased weight on your toes causes your body to tilt forward, and to compensate, you lean backwards and overarch your back, creating a posture that can strain your knees, hips, and lower back. “The change to the position of your spine puts pressure on nerves in the back and can cause sciatica, a condition where nerves become trapped, triggering pain and numbness as far down as the feet,” Dr. Nevins adds.
You don’t have to be a medical professional to know how dangerous heels can be. You only have to be in town at the weekend to see injuries attributed to high heels. OK, alcohol might also be a factor there. You can equally take a tumble just trying to walk down the average pavement in Edinburgh in heels.
There’s also the many of us who can’t wear heels because certain parts of our bodies are ruined. For me it’s my knee. Damaged in a work-related injury a while back. I can’t wear heels now because of the agony. I did wear a one inch heel for a friends wedding a long time ago but since then I’ve been a flatty. I attempted a two-inch thick heel for a while but the pain was just too much. So now I am a 5’4 shortarse with a thick middle and flat heel only option. I must be unemployable!
The reason that Nicola Thorp has made it into the news with this is she decided to start a petition asking for it to become illegal for companies to insist on women wearing high heels. Within a couple of days it had achieved the required amount of signatures for it to be considered for debate in the UK parliament. I’ve already signed it and if you also want to sign it click here.
So it’s here I welcome the fact that I wear trainers to work and very comfy ones too. I don’t imagine there’s much call for high heels in my profression. Well, not in my particular job.
Here I end and if you’re forced to wear heels all day at work against your wishes then it’s almost the weekend and for the heels to be forgotten until Monday. Oh, another quick thought, if your employer insists on high heels then ask them to provide a foot care service as well.