27-year old Nicola Thorp from London became the black sheep of business dress code, when she refused to wear 2-4 inches high heels at her new job as a receptionist in a finance company. She may have lost her job, but she earned a place in the war against sexism in the workplace!
The former actress Nicola Thorp from Hackney had to face the contempt from PwC leaders, who started laughing at her after the latter said that “men do not have to wear high heels at work,” when she was asked to go buy new shoes or go home. As she told BBC Radio: “I was expected to do a nine-hour shift on my feet escorting clients to meeting rooms. I said I just won’t be able to do that in heels” and added: “I defy anyone to give me a reason as to why it’s beneficial to wear high heels. I don’t think it affects my job or how smart I was looking.” In fact, she believes that the current dress code is still in force, because of old-fashioned stereotypes that haunt the firms. “People say that heels are just more feminine, but why should I need to express my gender at work?”, she said. In addition to this, Miss Thorp’s petition on the Government’s official website has attracted more than 25,000 signatures, and she is hoping to get the issue debated in Parliament.
The official position of the company was that “these policies ensure customer-facing staff are consistently well presented and positively represent a client’s brand and image”, but that they will also take on board the comments regarding footwear and that they will be reviewing their guidelines.
A small step for Nicola Thorp, a huge step for breaking down the old-fashioned sexism and for equal rights in the workplace.