Women should not be forced to wear high heels at work by their employers.
I am backing a report by the Women and Equalities Select Committee, which I sit on, calling on the Government to review legislation and fully protect women form this sort of discrimination at work.
Our report, “High heels and workplace dress codes”, reveals the troubling experiences of workers affected by discriminatory dress codes with the requirement to wear high heels at work still widespread, despite the Government saying this is unlawful.
In 2017 it is absolutely unacceptable that women must be forced to wear high heels at work when it’s clear they can cause back problems or are dangerous in certain circumstances.
The same must go for make-up if a woman is allergic to products – they must not be forced to wear it.
The fact is dress codes that could cause harm are not applied to men. Saying men are forced to wear ties is correct, but it rarely constitutes a health and safety risk nor would it potentially damage their health and wellbeing in the short or long term.
The report calls on the Government to look at strengthening this law and I think it should be done.
Women should simply be given the choice as to what footwear they should wear.
I accept that many women like to wear heels and it is not the intention to force women to always flat shoes at work, but it has to be a choice.
The Equality Act 2010 is not yet fully effective in protecting workers from discrimination, and I hope the government will look at this. It would be helpful to have a campaign led by the Government introduce guidance and awareness campaigns targeted at employers, workers and students, to improve understanding of the law and workers’ rights.