Women to Wear High Heels at Work? Not Necessary, the Philippines Says

September 29, 201710:14 am2397 views

In part of the efforts to protect women’s rights, the Philippines has banned firms from forcing their female employees to wear high heels at work. The move, introduced by a labour union on Monday (Sept 25), was claimed to be one among of the first countries in the world to do so.

The Philippines’ labour said that companies can no longer compel women to wear high heels owing to health and safety issues at work. Issued earlier this month, the order will officially take effect on Sept 29. The new initiative was made after four women lodged a complaint about the matter to a labour union, which then brought the issue to the higher authorities.

Alan Tanjusay from the Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines said that the policy change will freed women from sexist policy that represents unsafe and dangerous working conditions. He added that it will give them more freedom while the businesses will be more productive as well. The union spokesman stated that he believed the Philippines to be the first country in Asia which adopts a nationwide ban, after the Canadian province of British Columbia issued a similar order in April this year.

See: Ageing Asia Needs More Women on Boards: Study Findings

Campaigners have argued how common working dress codes that often require female workers to apply make-up or wear high heels are sexist and discriminatory policy. Not to mention, wearing such type of footwear for a long period of time would cause pain and even long-term damage.

The Philippine government’s order said companies must allow women to wear practical and comfortable footwear, and that employer cannot compel them to wear shoes higher than one inch (2.5 cm). According to the order, women employees such as salesladies and lady guards should not be forced to wear high-heeled shoes in the workplace, nor be deprived from short span of sitting breaks that might cause health risks.

The department said standing for too long while wearing high-heels will not only cause pain and fatigue, but might also lead to problems in the spine and joints.

Mr Tanjusay said the practice of ordering women to wear similar dress codes is a widespread practice across Philippines, especially in industries such as retail, restaurants, airlines and hotels. The labour union expected some one million Filipina women who are employed as sales assistants will be benefited from the policy change, Reuters reports.

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