Down at heel …

… and dignity in di feet!

Sometimes petitions work! I rarely sign online petitions, but as you can read here I did sign the one instigated by a woman receptionist who was sent home without pay for refusing to wear high-heeled shoes.

As you can read below, it looks like it had an effect (it goes on a bit – a lot actually – so don’t feel compelled!):

You recently signed the petition “Make it illegal for a company to require women to wear high heels at work”:

We told you a few months ago that MPs on the House of Commons Petitions Committee had decided to investigate the issues raised by this petition.

The inquiry has now finished and the Petitions Committee has published a joint report with the Women and Equalities Committee on high heels and workplace dress codes. The report concludes that the Equality Act 2010 is not yet fully effective in protecting workers from discrimination.

The report calls for:

· the Government to take urgent action to improve the effectiveness of the Equality Act. It recommends that the Government reviews this area of the law and, if necessary, asks Parliament to amend it.
· more effective remedies—such as increased financial penalties—for employment tribunals to award against employers who breach the law, in order to provide an effective deterrent.
· the Government to introduce guidance and awareness campaigns targeted at employers, workers and students, to improve understanding of the law and workers’ rights.

You can read the full report on the Parliament website:

We are hugely grateful to you for signing this petition and raising this issue in Parliament. Without this petition, this inquiry would not have happened.

What will happen now?

The petition and report will be debated in Parliament on Monday 6 March at 4.30pm in Westminster Hall (the second debating chamber of the House of Commons). You can watch the debate live on the day or catch up with it afterwards on Parliament TV:

The Government will send a formal response to our report within 2 months. We will let you know when this happens. You can follow any updates on our inquiry page:

Hot on the heels …

It’s a wee while since I was dishonestly ‘outed’ by Firstborn to all her Facebook friends as:

“… a cross-dressing rent boy with a penchant for high heels, who turns a shapely calf and holds Audrey Hepburn in high regard; the man who introduced me to Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Audrey Hepburn and Bette Midler, who styled my hair throughout my childhood, and who has very strong opinions on interior design …”.

All true, of course, bar the bit about being a cross-dressing rent boy with a penchant for high heels but, seemingly, word appears to have spread about the latter. You may recall that a few weeks ago the Graun reported that a PwC agency receptionist was sent home without pay for refusing to wear shoes with 2-4 inch heels whilst at work. I was actually stunned by that and did something that I very rarely do; I signed an online parliamentary petition seeking the discriminatory nature of the agency’s apparent dress code to be debated in Parliament.

I’m delighted to say that the petition worked and I heard yesterday that the matter will be debated. And I’m even more delighted to have been asked to give written evidence of the occasions upon which I have been compelled to wear high heels at work. Sadly, the only time that I can recall was during a work’s pantomime when, as one of the ugly sisters, Prince Charming attempted to force my size nine-and-a-half feet into a size four pair of hooker heels. So, maybe not!

Austerity bites
Austerity bites …

Whilst on this theme, I should also mention that my ‘on order’ micro-campervan has already been christened ‘Priscilla’ by Firstborn in advance of its delivery. That’s as a sort of homage to the series of cross-dressing comedy films that we have enjoyed watching together: Connie and Carla, Some Like It Hot, Kinky Boots and, of course, Priscilla Queen of the Desert; however, I have drawn the line at having a Ken doll dressed in Barbie’s clothes as a mascot on the van’s dashboard!

Postscript: Not all movies with a cross-dressing theme are, to my mind, as good as those mentioned above, Tootsie and Victor Victoria for example, but there’s not half a lot of them.