Not a minor concern

By Editorial August 11,2017

First it was the ban on the sale of liquor after 10 p.m., followed by the firecracker ban and then the smoking ban in public places.

These orders reflect the local government sensibilities of the Duterte administration, which is to be expected since President Rodrigo Duterte’s principal government expertise was as mayor of Davao City.

These may be little things when compared to legislation concerning subsidized college education, taxes on sugary drinks, the war against illegal drugs and so on. But they do make a substantial difference in the lives of lots of people.

Now we have a petition from the Association of Labor Unions (ALU) asking the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to stop the requirement for women to wear high heels in the workplace, and there is likely no debate that this will gain both public and government support.

Unless one is woefully ignorant or dense or has been wearing blinders, one can plainly see that wearing heels is quite a painful experience for women who may mask their pain with a smile that can often turn into a grimace when no one is watching.

This petition is seen to directly benefit saleswomen who often have to stand behind counters for hours on end. Corollary to that petition is another petition that seeks to provide 10-minute rest breaks for every hour of work that would also benefit salespersons and security guards.

But the wearing of high heels isn’t such a minor concern especially when one considers that thousands of women workers in Great Britain have signed a petition to require companies to remove the requirement for women workers to wear high heels as part of the company dress code.

But the British government shot down the petition by saying that there are enough laws to allow companies to do away with the high heels dress code requirement.

Again, we refer to the saleswomen, receptionists and other women in the workplace who are required to wear high heels despite the health risks to their ankles and posture.

And it’s not just about women’s health. Engineers in First World countries have long required a ban on the wearing of heels inside buildings especially aging and historic structures.

They cited studies that show that the weight of high heels worn by women exerts more pressure on a floor than an elephant’s foot. And we’re not even talking about the difficulty of mobility especially during natural and man-made calamities like floods, fires and quakes.

While the DOLE gets a lot of flak from militant groups for their compromise on labor contractualization, they may get some love from women employees if they do issue an order and enforce that order to stop requiring them to wear high heels in the workplace.

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