Women in the UK have been baffled by the news that ladies high heel shoes could soon be banned from the workplace. In a motion lacking in good faith, the Trade Union Congress has proposed to limit the shoe heels of a working woman to 0.8 inches.
The Trade Union Congress in UK recently tabled a motion proposing to bar any shoe heels longer than 2cm from the work place. According to the motion, ladies high heel shoesonly look glamorous when on Hollywood catwalks. Those opposed to the motion, a large section of the society really, felt that the predominantly male congress had lacked in good faith by tabling such a motion without soliciting the views of the women wearing high heels.
The public debate forums quickly took up the news and women’s voice could be heard in clear, precise and firm tones that it was nobody’s business what they wore on their feet. From the media to the internet, the opposing voices of the high heels’ news have made it clear that the UNC has overstepped the border. So, what has propelled the UNC to present such a motion?
The motion to limit ladies shoe heels height is still due for debate at the UNC conference next month, but there’s no doubt now how the public feels about it. According to the motion, high heel shoes are completely inappropriate, dangerous and demeaning to women, especially those in a daily working environment. The union argued that wearing high heels in work places only served to cause long-term feet injuries. They actually went ahead to propose that women should wear what they called ‘sensible shoes’ based on an inch heel limit. This they feel would help avoid widespread foot and back pains in addition to frequent feet injuries.
It was the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists that originated with the congress motion, probably with misplaced good intentions. They stated that the intent of congress limiting the height of shoe heels was born out of medical concern. The feet, they said, always bear the brunt load of daily life. This is especially so for the working women who have to spend prolonged hours standing. If such women then are allowed to wear badly fitted footwear, there is a hazard there that needs to be addressed through policy regulation. They in particular expressed concern with wearing high heels saying that many working hours are being lost due to wearing high heels in work places.
The motion identified some long-term negative impacts of wearing high heels to work such as corns in the feet, blisters, calluses, general foot injuries, knee joint damage, and constant back pains. This motion however failed to show any medical proof, research or documented data to prove that these conditions arise due to high heel footwear. The fact that the motion was not really based on medical concerns as the UNC would have the public believe is without question the defeating weakness of the motion.
It has been pointed out by some credible quarters that the employers are trying to get more out of their female employees by enforcing less demanding footwear. These schools of thought argue that when women are more mobile, which is to an extent limited by high heel footwear, output could, repeat could, be more. It may otherwise all boil down to control and dominance of the employer, based on self-interest and yet disguised in health concerns.
Nonetheless, not all employers would wish their female workforce on flat shoes. In fact, many employers, especially those in the retail sector, recommend that their female workers wear high heel shoes as a part of the formal women’s dress code. The patronizing motive behind the motion is too clear to miss, and it is impossible that such a motive has arisen from women’s suffering, as the UNC would have the public believe.
Women’s dress code surfaces on the news far too often. From low-cut skirts and dresses to tights, it is now high heel footwear. What employers ought to know, women feel, is that ladies high heel shoes are part of the arsenal used to perform in the work place. The Tory MP, Nadine Dorries actually rose in defense of the women immediately the motion was announced saying, that the extra height of the shoe heels is vital for the working woman in most cases. Such an instance when the height of the shoe heel comes in handy is when a female boss has to look the male juniors and other colleagues in the eye, lest they seem indifferent. Furthermore, it is the woman who chooses to wear the heels or not to. If she were hurting, she would have removed them already. There is no rule in the UK that no wear plain shirts during winter, is there?
With labor chaos fledging the UK job market in torrents, it can be a very good tactic to divert debate from key issues to women stilettos. The motion sought credence by quoting unsubstantiated statistics, just out of the blue, to incite the public it seems. Like when they said that over two million working days are lost every year to sickness arising from lower limb disorders, there was no stated source of the figures. However, such statistics could easily be used to incite an awareness campaign against a perceived problem. Lower limb disorders have a million and one causes, footwear being marginally one of them, and a far-fetched one at that. There is absolutely no medical correlation between the height of the shoe heel and lower limb disorders.
The high heels’ news makes one wonder whether the UNC guys don’t have anything better to shower with their concerns. It is self-explanatory, and evident from the resounding opposition that the motion has raised all over, that the high heels empower the modern woman and boost her confidence in the workplace. Men are actually in support of the stilettos, in work places or wherever, for the mere fact that the ladies high heel shoes are sexier than the flat drubs worn around the house.
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