The Petitions and Women and Equalities Committees have today published the Government’s response to their joint report, High heels and workplace dress codes. Comment from Helen Jones MP, Chair of the Petitions Committee and Maria Miller MP, Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee.

The report called for the Government to take urgent action to improve the effectiveness of the Equality Act in preventing discriminatory practices relating to dress at work. In particular, the Committees urged the Government to introduce guidance and awareness campaigns to improve understanding of the law and workers’ rights, targeted at employers, workers and students.

The Government has accepted this recommendation and has undertaken to produce guidance during this summer and to explore other options for raising further awareness of the law on dress codes.  The Equality and Human Rights Commission has already run a social media campaign aimed at young women to promote awareness of the law.

Helen Jones MP, Chair of the Petitions Committee, said: “This petition, and our inquiry, have already done a great deal to improve public awareness of the law. It is nevertheless very welcome that the Government has accepted our recommendation that it should be doing much more to improve understanding among employers and employees alike, to prevent discriminatory practices in the workplace. I very much hope that the next Government will honour the commitments made in the response to our report.”

Maria Miller MP, Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, said: “Equality legislation is not sufficient to achieve equality in practice. This petition, and the Committees’ inquiry, have reinforced the need for effective enforcement of legislation and for employers and employees to be aware of their obligations and rights. We welcome the commitments made by the Government to increasing awareness of those rights, and hope that the next Government will monitor how this changes women’s experiences of the workplace.”