Premier Christy Clark is supporting legislation that would make it illegal to require women to wear high heels in the workplace in BC. On Facebook and Twitter, Clark says it is “old fashioned” and “unacceptable” to set footwear requirements based on gender.
The Bill was introduced by BC’s Green party leader, Andrew Weaver, on International Women’s Day.
A Certified Pedorthist at Brian Farrance Orthotics, Shalina Edge, commends the bill. “There are certain types of footwear that are hard on the feet that are required for work; like certain types of work boots, chemical resistant boots, those types of things. Those all have a functional purpose. So they are not good for the persons foot, but the safety outweighs the risk to the foot. High heels have no practical reason. They are for appearance only. There are greater risks of falls or slipping, they hurt the arch of your foot, the ball of your foot and they are bad for your knees.”
Even some restaurants are embracing the bill. “I think it’s great, ” says Dan Connelly, the Managing Partner of Earls in Prince George. “We have always tried to create an environment where our people are made to feel great about the way they present themselves at work, they want to feel comfortable.”
Connelly says servers at his location are not required to wear heels, adding the footwear policy is the same for men and women. “Our request of them is they wear a structured shoe so that it protects them. Obviously they do a lot of walking, a lot of moving. A lot of slip and fall opportunities, hot/sharp, those types of things.”
According to Edge, it’s ideal is to go without a heel. She says anything under 2.5 inches is about minimizing damage rather than eliminating it. “What you want to check in the shoes is you want it so that you can’t ring it out like a wet towel, and it has a firm heel counter back. Most flats and a lot of high heels don’t have either.”