Women need more shoes: Why we’re talking about footwear on International Women’s Day

On International Women’s Day Georgina Bisby shares her findings after trying out some safety boots from Dr Martens new women’s range and discusses the problems women face finding good fitting PPE.

It’s International Women’s Day 2018 and as I’ve been trying out some new womens safety footwear from Dr Martens over the past few months, today seemed like the perfect day to share my findings.

I’ve worked as a journalist writing about industrial technology including safety products for over ten years and it’s clear that women have been grossly underserved when it comes to PPE with safety footwear perhaps being the worst offender. Research undertaken by the TUC in 2016 and a report published in 2017 suggested fewer than one in three women are given protective clothing specifically designed for women.

Despite a legal duty on bosses to provide the correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to their staff free of charge, only 3 in 10 women (29%) told a survey that the PPE they wear to keep them safe at work is specifically designed for women with many women being given men’s PPE in smaller sizes.

Women responding to the survey worked in a range of jobs, including in the emergency services, retail and manufacturing, engineering and scientific research.

Many reported that ill-fitting PPE which isn’t designed to protect women workers gets in the way of them doing their job safely. For example, the wrong shoes or overalls can increase the chances of tripping, and safety harnesses, belts and body armour can rub against the skin if they do not accommodate breasts or hips.

That’s why we were really excited to hear about the iconic Dr Martens brand launching a women’s industrial collection, offering female workers a choice of boots that shouldn’t compromise on safety.

To help encourage and support females in industry, Dr. Martens says its new Women’s Collection ensures women are given a choice of protection, style and colour for their footwear, and no longer have to compromise. The collection includes:

  • Maple- A classic 8-eyelet lace up steel-toe work boot, the Maple is designed with soft leather and heat-sealed uppers. The padded tongue ensures comfort, as well as the SoftWair™ sock liner delivering extra cushioning at the hee
  • Arbor- This classic Chelsea work boot has a steel toe cap with soft leather uppers that are heat-sealed with a PVC outsole that is durable. The SoftWair™ sock liner also delivers extra cushioning at the heel and forefoot, while the raised grid pattern promotes underfoot airflow to keep feet dry and comfortable

The Women’s Collection is available in UK sizes 3-9 online at: www.drmartens.com/uk/c/industrial-womens

We’d love to hear your experiences of finding PPE and Safety Footwear for women – is it a frustration of have you found brands you love? Let us know.
*The model I’ve been trying is the Maple in a size 5 – I often take a size 5.5 – they don’t come in half sizes but I found that the 5 was a really good fit.

About Georgina Bisby

Georgina Bisby
Georgina Bisby is a journalist and editor with extensive experience covering construction and industrial news and technology, including a particular focus on health and safety, energy and environmental issues.

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