- Melissa PotterChief Executive, Clarks Shoes
- Denise MallingAssistant to Chief Executive, Clarks Shoes
Remove outdated, sexist signage from Clarks shoe shops. #letshoesbeshoes
On Saturday 31 May I visited the Clarks store in Westfield, Stratford and was horrified to find gender-stereotyped notices above the boys’ and girls’ shoes:
Above one lot of shoes: "Because boys test their shoes to destruction, so do we"
Above the other: "Because girls love comfort and style, we design both into our shoes"
These offensive posters suggest that boys are active (testing their shoes to destruction) while girls are passively pretty (interested in style and comfort).
I grew up in the carefree 1970s when kids were kids and my brother and I wore matching outfits on a regular basis. As an adult, I've made my career in equality law and am all too aware of the damaging effects that stereotypes, whether based on sex, race, sexual orientation or religion, can have upon children when they are growing up.
I'm also a mum to a girl and two boys, so I know how important it is for kids to grow up with the space to be who they are, not who someone else thinks they ought to be.
Gender stereotyping has an important effect on children’s development. To suggest that boys engage in active outdoor play of the type that destroys shoes, while girls are interested in fashion and looking pretty, is to reinforce damaging social stereotypes and to deprive both sexes of the opportunity to become who they really are.
For more on why this matters, see the excellent campaign materials by Let Toys be Toys.
Thank you for your support - and please tweet using hashtag #letshoesbeshoes - thanks!
- Chief Executive, Clarks Shoes
- Assistant to Chief Executive, Clarks Shoes
Please remove all sexist signage from Clarks shoe shops forthwith so that our children can be who they want to be, and fulfil their true potential free of damaging gender stereotypes.
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