Putting her foot down

International Women’s Day came and went this week with the usual things being said by the usual suspects. In Washington, even The Donald managed to read a few appropriate lines about “the important role that women play in our lives”, as he stood next to a portrait of Hillary Clinton at the White House.

But to me, the most important story about women happened at the ‘Mother of Parliaments’ in London. On the floor before the honourable members at Westminster was a proposal to prohibit employers from forcing their female workers to wear high heels. In something of a heartwarming story about democracy, it started with 150,000 signatures that were collected on a petition by a receptionist named Nicola Thorp. She was sent home without pay one day, when she showed up wearing flat shoes. The dress code mandated by Nicola’s London employer demanded that women in that workplace were required to wear heels somewhere between two and four inches. They were also expected to not have hair with visible roots, and to wear make-up that was “regularly re-applied”.

Apparently such mandatory codes are still very common in workplaces across Europe, as well as North America. As far as those dreaded high heels go, recent medical evidence is fairly persuasive. Doctors from the College of Podiatry told the British lawmakers that women who wear high heels for long periods of time have less reliable balance increasing the danger of falling, and they are often subject to disabling pain. I’m betting that Nicola’s female colleagues probably wear sensible sneakers until they get to the office, rather than wearing heels on the underground.

It’s something that most of us males will never know or even think about, unless we happen to be cast in a revival of “Some Like It Hot”, but it all makes perfect sense to me.

Hey, bustles and hoop skirts disappeared well over a hundred years ago. Is it not about time that women put their feet down hard, and chose comfort over outdated style?

I’m Roger Currie

Roger Currie


Veteran radio journalist, now working primarily as a writer, commentator and freelance voice. My regular commentary "Currie's Corner" is heard on CJNU ( Nostalgia Radio ) at 93.7 FM. Text and audio can be found at http://www.cjnu.ca/c-corner.shtml. I also do a daily newscast on CJNU, at about 7.15 & 8.15, every weekday morning. It's also posted on the CNC homepage.

2 responses to “Putting her foot down”

  1. Julien Cooper

    Yes, this is an awful problem that has to go. There are young girls told to use makeup, which I call ‘fakeup’ for those not wanting it. High heel shoes which I call ‘dumpers’ due to how the foot is dumped into the so-called “toe area” are bought for and put on girl’s tender feet. And skirts which I call ‘one legged pants or one legged shorts for two legged people’ are seen on girls with exposures to grown men while the girls play as children do. This attitude can be quite forceful or even coercive over the years from a vary young age. Girls are told to “Expect this…” from their bosses, even in what people call “non-traditional job” just so they’ll comply. Or fight back as was the case in my younger days.

    It’s time we realize girls will be girls or boys (Tomboys in my younger days) in what ever clothes they wear and safety, respect and freedom means letting them wear what works with them.

    And then we need to see no more women threatened or fired for not being “done up”. I witnessed one woman being threatened and then gone from the place and another woman changing from ‘dumpers’ to shoes on a bus to end the pain of the office with apologies to me, her fellow passenger. I see we have a long ways to go before we truly see what is women’s rights and what is clearly not women’s rights, not ethical and never was right for any human being of any nationality at any time in history.

    Check this out ugly thing: https://www.footstretch.com/collections/frontpage/products/original-ballet-foot-stretch

    I will add, men need not wear a suit and tie. However, chosen or foisted on men, the tie can not be equally compared to harsh things women are using. The tie and collar can be done lose around the neck by way of proper shirt sizing and tie adjustments and by tie designs such as clip ties, rather then being a ‘strangler’ that some men are wearing. Trust me, some women wear ties, as part of a uniform or ‘matching suit’. I was quite comfortable in mine.

    Thank you, Roger Currie! Let’s keep this conversation going.

    1. Julien Cooper

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