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Lawmakers Debate Over Wearing High Heel Shoes At Work

Update Date: Mar 07, 2017 08:40 AM EST

Lawmakers in Britain debate whether wearing high heel shoes at work should be part of the corporate dress code. A worker was reported to have been sent home without pay for wearing flat shoes.

In 2015, Nicola Thorp, a receptionist working in a finance firm PWC was sent home for wearing unacceptable shoes according to a report by USA Today. Her employment agency said that the mandatory dress code for female workers include non-opaque tights and high heel shoes measuring between ten to four inches or five to ten centimeters high.

Aside from the high heel shoes, female workers' hair must have no visible roots and their makeup regularly re-applied. Thorp then started to make an online petition calling formal workplace dress codes as out dated and even sexist.

The petition has gathered more than 150,000 signatures. Hence, the British Parliament is bound to debate over the issue of mandatory wearing of high heel shoes. However, the debate is considered as non-binding.

British lawmakers said that they have heard women about the pain and long-term damage brought by wearing high heel shoes for a long period of time. There are also companies that require their employees to dye their hair blonde, wear revealing outfits and to constantly reapply makeup.

Women who constantly wear high heel shoes may suffer reduced balance, reduce ankle flexion and weaker muscle power in the calf according to College of Podiary. They are also prone to disabling pain in the future.

Imposing women to wear high heel shoes is considered by the petitioner and signatories to be sexist and discriminating.  Women and Equalities Committee said that discriminatory dress codes in the workplace are common especially in the retail and tourism industries. However, some believe that it is but fair to request men to wear neckties and women to wear high heels in the workplace.

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