Should stiletto heels be banned in the workplace?

September 17, 2009

heelsA call by the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists asking employers to work with unions to conduct risk assessments and if necessary allow workers to replace high heels with comfortable shoes in the workplace created a controversy this week.******Unions passed a motion at the Trades Union Congress conference demanding that women have the right to comfortable footwear in the workplace.******Defenders of the stiletto claimed that unions were attempting to ban the shoes in the workplace, but the podiatrists defended their position, stating that high heels can cause such foot problems as blisters, corns, calluses, damaged joints, knee and back pain.******Some women argue that stiletto heels give them a power advantage in male-dominated workplaces because the shoes make them appear taller and enhance their sex appeal.******Others consider the shoes demeaning and symbolic of the sexist subjugation of women and their health to satisfy male whims and fantasies.******What do you think? Should stilettos be banned in the workplace?

10 comments

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unless i’m mistake this is an artice about women’s rights to choose what shoes they wear?? Give me a sandwich board as indeed, “the end is nigh”!!! surely the right to choose (within reason )is the upmost principle to which we attribute our position as free people. If a woman wants to wear stilleto’s , who’s place is it to tell them not to? More PC nonsense from the namby pamby brigade imho.

Posted by the enlightened one | Report as abusive

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Although I’m not in favor of telling anyone what they can and cannot wear (within the limits of the community standards of decency), it should be noted that, particularly in high-rise buildings, stiletto heels present a legitimate safety concern. In an evacuation, seconds count, and impractical footwear can be a serious impediment to making it to safety in a timely manner. At least a few women lost their lives in the 9-11 attacks because their movement was hampered by their stiletto heels. Not in favor of an out-and-out ban, but I would say that ladies should keep practical shoes at their desk in the case of such an emergency.

Posted by Stephanie | Report as abusive

Unless the stilettos pose a safety problem, let the women wear it.. It may be bad for the feet, but if they want to wear it, let them..

Posted by MikeCQ | Report as abusive

What a load of rubbish! Nothing and no one is going to stop me from wearing my heels to work! This is more politically correct rubbish from minority groups and damn unions to subjugate us even further.

Posted by Angelina B | Report as abusive

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I think that health and safety in the workplace is very important. Noone should be required or pressured into wearing anything that puts their health at risk. Employees should be informed of risks and encouraged to make safe choices.

Posted by Canuckella | Report as abusive

Surely it’s up to the women concerned… if they want to wear heels, all the better for the rest of us!And as far as the “H&S rubbish” any woman daft enough not to take her shoes off if necessary… well, that’s just one less moron to keep through retirement!

Posted by Ian J | Report as abusive

Anyone who is not intelligent enough to realise that stiletto heals may pose an issue in case of the requirement to move quickly really shouldn’t be allowed out on their own anyway. Most women would have the common sense to kick off their shoes and run should that become necessary. Are we going to ban gentlemen such as myself from wearing leather-soled shoes in places that have smooth tiled floors, in case we slip over if there is an evacuation and the sprinklers are on? What about shoes without steel toe-caps? There might be an accident in the office and you could stub your toe.The problem is the self-proliferating Health & Safety business. They have made our lives healthier and safer but are runing out of things to do that with and if everything is healthy and safe, what would they do for a living? Nobody to persecute, no draconian nanny-knows-best rules to enforce and no more forms to fill in…We live in a society where you are not allowed to change a lightbulb because you haven’t been on the ‘Lightbulb changing 101′ course, followed by ‘Selecting appropriate items to stand on’ workshop, not forgetting ‘Ladders – the hidden killer’ presentation. I understand that one is allowed to change a standard lightbulb under 10ft of the ground after undergoing this training (provided by the H&S peoplle, of course…). Advanced Lighting Engineering is then required if you want to change a florescent tube of course…

Posted by Adam K | Report as abusive

[...] stiletto heels be banned in the workplace? Reuters UK ^ A call by the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists asking employers to work with unions to [...]

I bet if a cross-dresser was banned from wearing these shoes, the legal profession would be gibbering with excitement at the law suits it could drum up!Yet more twaddlefrom the PC nanny state – let ‘em wear what they want with in reason.

Posted by W Fletcher | Report as abusive

[...] Stiletto heels: The latest workplace casualty? [...]

he problem is the self-proliferating Health & Safety business. They have made our lives healthier and safer but are runing out of things to do that with and if everything is healthy and safe, what would they do for a living

It never ceases to amaze me how many people there are who are so spoiling for a row or for the opportunity to be offended that they can scarcely bother to listen before they jump in with both feet to give battle. Here are the relevant phrases from the first two paragraphs of Julie’s article (emphasis mine with ALL CAPS) that make clear the intent of the parties (the Society and the trade unions) involved:”…and if necessary ALLOW workers to replace high heels with comfortable shoes…”"Unions passed a motion at the Trades Union Congress conference demanding that women HAVE THE RIGHT to comfortable footwear…”As an aid to the logically impaired: What these phrases imply is that the current dress codes at some workplaces do not ALLOW women THE RIGHT to “replace high heels with comfortable shoes,” and the Society and the unions want women to “HAVE THE RIGHT to comfortable footwear.”Julie then goes on to tell us that “Defenders of the stiletto [the preceding paragraphs indicate that "the stiletto" was not under attack in the first place] CLAIMED that unions were attempting to ban the shoes in the workplace,” so that they could then blame men for the necessity of wearing them to gain competitive advantage. She then contrasts these “defenders” against “others” with the worn-down-at-the-heels argument that they “consider the shoes demeaning and symbolic of the sexist subjugation of women and their health to satisfy male whims and fantasies.” Men are, of course, at fault in either case (always handy to have one about, isn’t it?).(To this last argument: 1) Fashion historians have mostly settled on Queen Catherine de’ Medici as the first person to wear heels as a fashion statement [she commissioned them from a cobbler, who adapted them from the chopine, which was also worn by women]. 2) When women decided they wanted to wear trousers, the fashion industry [and the rest of society] were forced to adapt; the same would obtain if women didn’t want to wear heels.]All of this Julie placed under the provocative banner headline, “Should stiletto heels be banned in the workplace?” and blog-spaces are filled with comments about interfering busybodies who want to regulate everything. It seems that the headline was so effective that most people just couldn’t get past it. Tsk, tsk, tsk…

Posted by Jeff | Report as abusive