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Government Stabs Women In The Back With High Heels

26/04/2017 13:02 BST | Updated 26/04/2017 13:02 BST
AntonioGuillem via Getty Images

The news that employers can still legally force women to wear high heels to work is yet another blow to the attempt to free the shackles from around women's feet.

This unsurprising, but nonetheless infuriating news that this "dress code" can be enforced by employers is further evidence that women are still being trodden on by the law. A group of largely male, white politicians decide that female employees can legally be made to wear high heels - and this is in a society which is supposed to be progressive regarding women's rights and liberties?

Once more, women's appearances are being shaped and moulded by the male gaze, and what society suggests makes women appear presentable. After all, around 70% of bosses in the UK are male, according to research carried out by Expert Market. Those that hold power continue to wield it in a sexist, archaic way to the inconvenience and discomfort of women.

High heels are a fashion accessory and should not be an obligation. Personally, I wear them about once a year - and squirm with discomfort every time I do. They are unhealthy for the feet, damaging joints and muscles and squashing the toes into an awkward and unnatural position. It is illogical to make high heels part of a woman's dress code, especially since there is no equivalent for men. High heels are impractical; many women walk to work in trainers before changing into heels for the workplace, outlining the pressure women feel to wear heels.

It is fair to say many women choose to wear heels; for some, it may make them feel more professional or fashionable. And this is fine, but when heels become a precondition to retaining a job, women's power to dress and express themselves is undercut. This is a threat to women's liberation, and a clear demonstration of the government sweeping women's issues under the carpet.

The unjust tampon tax, and the government's ridiculous attempt to quell anger at it by redistributing funds raised from the tax to women's charities, was another example of politics that seems to be going backwards rather than forwards. And now, women's freedom to dress themselves as they choose is being impinged upon.

Should this bizarre practice be seen as entirely insane and archaic, and altogether out of place in the 21st century?