British Prime Minister Theresa May has found her footwear in the crossfire of national conversation over dress codes for women in the office.
The issue at hand stems from dress codes that force women to wear stilettos at work, which has incited the response of British labor unions to ban such dress codes. As Sky News reports, the controversy surrounding mandatory dress codes for women kicked off after actress Nicola Thorp was sent home without pay during a temporary receptionist position because she arrived for work wearing black flats.
A petition calling for a government inquiry and parliamentary debate on the topic has now received 145,000 signatures, and at a Trades Union Congress conference in Brighton, Prime Minister May was targeted by Katie Collins, a podiatrist with the Society of Chiropodists.
“We now have someone running the country who can set an example for the rest of us by making a point of wearing sensible shoes,” said Collins. “When Theresa May became Conservative leader and Prime Minister, I expected to read analysis of her policies, her priorities, and her approach to Brexit. Instead, most of the newspapers concentrated on her love of shoes and extensive shoe collection.”
Collins added that May would do better supporting the cause if she made a point of wearing pumps, flats and comfortable shoes to public events and meetings.
As the new Prime Minister of the UK, Theresa May has been recognized for her footwear flair. Last year at the Women in the World summit, May was quoted by the Telegraph as saying, “One of the challenges for women is to be ourselves and say you know what, you can be clever and like clothes. You can have a career and like clothes.”
The trade unions are asking May to put aside her pursuit of having a career and liking clothes by trading her Jimmy Choos for unflattering flats. But perhaps that gesture will empower more women to wear the shoes they are most comfortable in and not be afraid to lose their jobs for it.