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 Is it not about time that women put their feet down hard, and chose comfort over outdated style?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