I went to the ‘Making Her Mark’ exhibition at Hackney Museum.
Many incredible and courageous women are celebrated in the exhibition, but these shoes really struck me. They are so normal. They are smart, flat shoes. They are not fancy, they are not the shoes that you would imagine are ‘activist’ shoes. They are just normal shoes. I have shoes like this (for wearing on rare ‘smart’ occasions). Almost all women I know have these shoes.
Nicola Thorp got sent home from work for wearing these shoes. I’m not sure what Nicola Thorp’s job is, but it is not a firefighter or builder or mountaineer, (all of which are professions that these shoes are unsuitable for). Nicola Thorp got sent home for wearing these shoes because at her work place the dress code for women is to have high heeled shoes. This was in 2015.
Nicola Thorp decided to complain about this. She started an online petition, which led to unfair and sexist dress codes being discussed in parliament.
So, Nicola Thorp’s normal shoes, which look so normal, and not at all the shoes of an activist, are changing laws.
Hurrah for Nicola and her shoes!