The Philippines has banned companies from compelling women to wear high heels to work under a government order which was appreciated by a labour group and said that it was a victory against se*ism and pain.
The labour department order took effect on Sunday as the government took up the cudgels for long-suffering shopping mall clerks, hotel receptionists and flight attendants.
Employers should allow the use of ‘practical and comfortable footwear’ to improve the health of workers who stand for long periods, said the order.
“It’s a form of torture. It’s a form of oppression and slavery. Imagine having to endure that pain for eight to 10 hours a day,” Alan Tanjusay, spokesman for the Associated Labor Unions, told.
“It’s also a form of sexism because culturally employers say women wearing high heels look taller and sexier and are then more attractive, more effective in selling products. They don’t know the women are suffering.”
People who were forced to wear high heels suffered from sore feet, aching muscles and hazardous pressure on joints.
“These (work shoes) should not pinch the feet or toes; are well-fitted and non-slipping; provide adequate cushion and support to the arch of the feet; either flat or with low heels that must be wide-based or wedge type,” it said.
The labour department also ordered for rest periods during work. Tanjusay said unions lobbied the labour department last month following complaints from saleswomen, hotel receptionists and flight attendants.
Women are employed as clerks, cashiers and so-called ‘promo girls in most of the malls. Under the department order female workers can still wear high heels if they prefer them, Tanjusay added.