High heels 'should be banned from the workplace'

Stiletto heels could be banned from the workplace because of health and safety reasons, according to union bosses.

The Trade Union Congress, predominantly male, has proposed a motion arguing that high heels are demeaning to women while they also contribute to long term injuries.

 

They propose instead that women wear "sensible shoes" with an inch heel limit in an attempt to avoid future foot and back pain as well as injuries. The motion is due to be debated at next month's conference

The motion, tabled by the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, states: "Congress believes high heels may look glamorous on the Hollywood catwalks but are completely inappropriate for the day-today working environment.

"Feet bear the brunt of daily life, and for many workers prolonged standing, badly fitted footwear, and in particular high heels can be a hazard. Around two million days a year are lost through sickness as a result of lower limb disorders.

"Wearing high heels can cause long-term foot problems, such as blisters, corns and calluses, and also serious foot, knee and back pain and damaged joints.

"Many employers in the retail sector force women workers to wear high heels as part of their dress code.

"More must be done to raise awareness of this problem so that women workers and their feet are protected."

Nadine Dorries, the Tory MP, however criticised the motion and said the extra height heels give women can help them when in the workplace.

"I'm 5ft 3in and need every inch of my Christian Louboutin heels to look my male colleagues in the eye," she said. "If high heels were banned in Westminster, no one would be able to find me.

"The TUC need to get real, stop using overtly sexist tactics by discussing women's stilettos to divert tension away from Labour chaos."

Michelle Dewberry, a former winner of The Apprentice, said the motion was patronising.

"This is absolutely ridiculous and I think think these union officials should be spending their time dealing with more important issues," she said.

"I'm at work in five-inch heels and perfectly able to do my job. Heels are sexy, they boost your confidence and they are empowering to women.

"I can't imagine these officials debating a motion about how tightly men should wear their ties. Wearing heels is a personal choice."

Published:The Times, By Chris Irvine
Date: 7:00AM BST 06 Aug 2009