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TWO COMMITTEES of the British Parliament have recently challenged a London firm’s dress code that had required women to wear heels from two to four inches high. Women at PwC, an accounting firm, were also required to wear makeup at all times, regularly reapplied.
Back in early 2016, Nicola Thorp, 27, was sent home without pay from her temporary receptionist job. She said, “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.’ ”
“I was a bit scared about speaking up about it in case there was a negative backlash,” she’s quoted as saying to BBC, “But I realised I needed to put a voice to this as it is a much bigger issue.”
Indeed, others agreed. According to The New York Times, January 25, 2017, her Facebook posting about the incident evolved into a petition with more than 150,000 signatures and led to parliamentary inquiries.
Other women told parliamentary committees about companies demanding them to “dye their hair blonde,” “constantly reapply makeup” or “wear revealing outfits.” Noted The New York Times, “Britain’s 2010 Equality Act prohibits discrimination in the workplace on the basis of gender, age or sexual orientation. But women’s advocates and legal experts said the law was unevenly applied.”
Like, apparently, the women’s makeup.
One retail worker cited that her company encouraged her and female colleagues to wear shorter skirts and unbutton more buttons on their blouses during Christmas shopping season when there were more male shoppers.
Sam Smethers is chief executive of the Fawcett Society, a London women’s rights organization. She noted it was only last January that female cabin crew members of British Airways were allowed to wear trousers.
Smethers is quoted by The New York Times as saying, “Employers need to focus on what drives productivity and enables their staff to feel part of a team. It isn’t a pair of high heels.”
Noted Nicola Thorp, whose trendy flats were instrumental in raising this matter, “People say sexism is not an issue any more. But when a man who has admitted publicly to sexually harassing women is the leader of the free world, it is more crucial than ever to have laws that protect women.”
Amen to that. ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2017