‘Stop forc­ing women to wear high heels at work’

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS -

LON­DON: If you wear high heels at work, pre­pare for some good news and some bad.

Bri­tish re­searchers say ev­i­dence sug­gests both women and men find those in heels more ap­peal­ing.

Al­most two-thirds of busi­ness­women think high heels make them more at­trac­tive – a boost to self-im­age, con­fi­dence and well-being.

Men are al­most twice as likely to smile at a woman in heels than one in flats, and are more likely to of­fer her help.

But the same aca­demics also point out that the shoes cause back pain, bro­ken an­kles and sprains, and more than dou­ble the risk of de­vel­op­ing bunions. They add that women who wear heels can suf­fer in­juries from their toes up to their spine, and are more likely to fall.

The sci­en­tists say that tougher laws are needed to stop women being forced to wear high heels at work.

The find­ings fol­low high-pro­file com­plaints from women told to wear heels as part of their job.

An air host­ess said she was made to feel like a “pros­ti­tute” by Bri­tish Air­ways be­cause she had to wear high heels in air­ports. BA, how­ever, does not make staff wear them while work­ing on the plane.

And last year re­cep­tion­ist Ni­cola Thorp was sent home from a Lon­don of­fice after ar­riv­ing in flat shoes and being told she had to have a 5cm to 10cm heel.

She set up a pe­ti­tion, which at­tracted more than 152 400 sig­na­tures, ask­ing for a law ban­ning firms from de­mand­ing that women wear heels.

A team at Aberdeen Univer­sity re­viewed 20 publi­ca­tions on high heels to find the high risk of in­jury and mus­cu­loskele­tal pain. The re­sults are pub­lished in the jour­nal BMC Pub­lic Health.

Lead au­thor Dr Max Bar­nish said: “There is pres­sure on women to wear heels, and celebrity in­flu­ence with peo­ple such as Vic­to­ria Beck­ham and Kate Mid­dle­ton mak­ing it fash­ion­able to do so, whether they in­tend to or not.

“There is of­ten not an ab­so­lute rule to wear heels, but in some work­places there can be an un­spo­ken ex­pec­ta­tion which means that ev­ery­one does it.

“Ev­i­dence shows women are suf­fer­ing an­kle frac­tures and sprains, back pain and bunions. But they are judged to be at­trac­tive, which cre­ates a dilemma. We feel the gov­ern­ment should fol­low the lead of other au­thor­i­ties which have in­tro­duced spe­cific laws to tackle this prac­tice rather than re­ly­ing on ex­ist­ing leg­is­la­tion.”

A gov­ern­ment spokesper­son said: “No em­ployer should dis­crim­i­nate against work­ers on grounds of gen­der. It is un­ac­cept­able and is against the law.

“Dress codes must in­clude equiv­a­lent re­quire­ments for both men and women. To make the law clearer to em­ploy­ers and em­ploy­ees, the gov­ern­ment will pro­duce new guid­ance on work­place dress codes.” – Daily Mail

Shoes can cause an­kle frac­tures, sprains, back pain and bunions

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