I have always felt that high heels gave me confidence. And they do!
Apart from uplifting me physically, they uplift my ego too.
Well, yes, they hurt at times, but I would never say ‘No’ to the ‘kick’ they give me when I am out for meeting or even in general. They totally empower me at my workplace!
But I always drive my car in flat shoes (sometimes wearing sneakers with a formal dress!) because they are comfortable, however, when it comes to ego vs. comfort, I think I will always choose high heels. But it’s my choice, and that too a strictly personal one!
And I think it is a personal choice for women. Right?
But are there professions that mandate women to wear high heels at work? Can you not look glamorous in flat shoes? I mean this mandatory ‘dress code’ is almost akin to men wearing suits in office, however, suits are not uncomfortable, are they?
So why is this a mandate for women in professions like sales or aviation? It’s worth finding out!
And so I did some digging. A tradition rampant in the Aviation industry and the hospitality industry, this was, well, a bit uncomfortable for me to acknowledge that many employers still impose a ‘dress code’ that entail wearing high heels. Well, I do not have an issue with uniforms that are actually necessary to represent the employer in a marketplace, I do feel that if it’s uncomfortable, it should be done away with! After all, high heels do pose a health risk too!
According to a recent news post on The Telegraph1, Philippines has banned companies from forcing female employees to wear high heels at work, in a move commended by a labor union which stated that it was one of the first countries in the world to do so to protect women's rights.
This issue in the Philippines started when four women lodged a complaint to a labor union which took the matter to the authorities. "This frees women from a sexist policy and the bondage of unsafe and dangerous working conditions," said Alan Tanjusay of the Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, which spearheaded the policy change and “(It) gives them more freedom and businesses will be more productive."
On the same lines, in the UK, a temp worker named Nicola Thorp was sent home without pay from a scheduled receptionist job at PwC's London office after refusing to wear shoes with a 2- to 4-inch heel. She says her employer, the Portico temp agency, had mandated that women employees needed to wear high heels as a part of proper "female grooming." In a statement to media, Thorp mentioned that "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'." She said she asked the agency to give her a reason why flat shoes would impair her from doing her job, "but they couldn't."2
While in the United States there are laws that address workplace dress codes, there are some states that have laws against discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression.
I just think wearing heels or not is a personal choice. Not something to be mandated by the employer! Women have been marathon runners (in sneakers) and corporate Czarinas (in heels); it’s about time we dig into the fact that it’s the brains that matter, not high heels!