Popular shoe company Clarks Shoes have announced plans for their first gender neutral school range following accusations of sexism in their existing school styles.
A statement from the company confirmed that it was customer feedback that has inspired the lunch of the “entirely unisex" Spring/Summer 2018 line.
The full statement reads:
Clarks has a gender neutral ethos that anyone can choose any style they would like.
Over the past few seasons, following customer feedback and market research, we have focused on creating more unisex shoes and we are looking at a number of elements of our business to promote this gender neutral ethos, both on our website and within our stores.
As a large global company, it is not always possible to implement all the changes we want to make as quickly as we would like. However, we are looking to move as fast as we can to ensure this ethos is reflected throughout our brand.
Today we have more unisex styles in our range than ever before. This means we now have a wider range of closed-in styles, school boots and GORE-TEX® styles and these changes will continue in our Spring Summer 2018 range, which has been designed with an entirely unisex approach.
Jem Moonie-Dalton, a UK mother, shared concerns over the 'sexist' offerings from the brand to the Clarks Shoes Facebook page.
"In the boy's section, the shoes are sturdy, comfortable and weather proof with soles clearly designed with running and climbing in mind. In contrast, the girl's shoes have inferior soles, are not fully covered and are not well padded at the ankle."
"What message are you giving my daughter?" asked the Mother.
"That she doesn't deserve shoes that put her on equal 'footing' with her male peers?"
She wasn't alone in her concerns.
Another mother posted the following message only yesterday:
"I went today to get shoes for my 7-year-old daughter. She is very tall and wears size 4. I did not expect too much, just needed shoes suitable for this weather," She said.
"Guess what... There was NOT EVEN ONE PAIR fitting this description!"
"Not because there was nothing in stock! It's because you DO NOT make anything like that! You are the biggest shoe manufacturer in UK and you cannot provide ONE girls type of shoes suitable for this wet weather?? This is just pathetic!"
"All the sport shoes are fabric, nothing else is available. What on earth should girls wear??" She concluded.
We can only hope other brands follow Clarks Shoes lead around the world.