A petition saying women shouldn’t have to wear high heels at work will be debated in Parliament

It’s hit 100,000 signatures


This week in conversations about what women should and shouldn’t do: wearing high heels to work. Temporary receptionist Nicola Thorp has claimed that she was sent home on her first day at PWC after she refused to wear shoes with a 2-4 inch heel.

The 27-year old, from Hackney in east London, had turned up in flat shoes, but says that she was sent home without pay after she refused to go and buy heels. She had complained that the demand was discriminatory.

“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 told BBC London. “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.”

Similarly, this week, images of an Australian waitress’ feet went viral: they were bloodied and bruised, after she had worn heels, as required, for the duration of her shift. Despite her injuries, she was told she would have to wear them again on her next shift, the following day.

Women rallied. Many on social media shared their own experiences of being expected to wear heels, and the injuries they sustained. And meanwhile, Thorp had launched a petition. It’s now reached more than 100,000 signatures, meaning it will have to be debated in parliament.

The petition states that “current formal dress codes are out-dated and sexist”. NO. KIDDING.

It’s not the same as expecting someone to dress ‘smartly’ at work: heels are painful. They damage your feet; they damage your back. Ask any woman who is travelling to work in trainers: she’s waiting till the very last second before putting them on. They’re also part of a regressive uniform that peddles ‘traditional’ femininity. You can look smart in flat shoes too. Wear heels if you want to – but not because you have to.

Bring on the debate.