Work wear

Many jobs require employees to look smart at work. Unfortunately, what counts as ‘smart’ can be highly problematic. Just two stories from London that happened to cross my desk this week:

‘Leila’ (not her real name) has been told by her employer several times that she needs to wear a weave to work, because her afro hair is not sufficiently smart, left in its natural state. Cultural norms for what counts as ‘smart’ workwear should not be based on white people’s racial features.

And Nicola Thorp was sent home from work for wearing flat shoes instead of high heels. High heels are often uncomfortable and can cause problems with the knees, spine, ankles, pelvis, and toes. What counts as ‘smart’ shouldn’t include footwear that is likely to cause muscular-skeletal problems.

Can’t quite believe both of those needed saying.

Miami: The Reconstruction

This Spring I visited the University of Miami as a speaker at their first annual Inclusiveness Conference.  To be honest, most of what I knew of the department before this was negative, related to sexual harassment.  I was really pleased to find a place where there was a very strong core group of faculty and students working hard together to improve things– honestly facing up to problems and taking action to make things better.  Otavio Bueno and Amie Thomasson agreed to write a post on what their department has been doing.  You can find it over at What We’re Doing About What It’s Like.