If anyone needs an example of how standing up against sexism in the workplace can really make an impact, look no further than London receptionist Nicola Thorp.
Last May, Thorp hit the headlines for speaking out after she was send home from work because she wasn’t wearing high heels. Her parliamentary petition urging the government to “make it illegal for a company to require women to wear high heels at work” has since gathered over 150,000 signatures.
Now, MPs on the Women and Equalities Committee are backing her call, demanding that “sexist and outdated” dress codes for women in the workplace are made illegal. After compiling a more in-depth report into sexism in the workplace, the Committee found even more shocking evidence. Female employees told of being instructed to wear revealing clothes, dye their hair a particular colour or even to wear more make-up.
“This may have started over a pair of high heels but what it has revealed about discrimination in the UK workplace is vital, as demonstrated by the hundreds of women who came forward,” Thorpe told Sky News.
“The current system favours the employer and is failing employees. It is crucial that the law is amended so that gender neutral dress codes become the norm.”
“Far too many employers are still stuck in the past when it comes to dress codes,” Frances O’Grady, TUC general secretary, said.
“It is unacceptable that in 2017 bosses are still forcing women to wear painful, inappropriate shoes and uniforms.
“But with employment tribunals costing up to £1,200 – even if you’re on the minimum wage – many women can’t afford to challenge sexist policies.
“If ministers are serious about enforcing equality legislation then they should scrap tribunal fees immediately.”