Women at a disadvantage with work wear


British society seeks to encourage manufacturers of safety gear to cater more to women.

Women of the veterinary clinic: How do you feel about your clothing choices for work? Forget the latest runway fashions-do your clothes fit? Though more women are working in industrial and scientific fields, makers of protective work wear still favor males. Aside from causing discomfort, working in incorrectly sized outfits can be dangerous: too long, rolled up sleeves can get caught on equipment or in moving machinery; wrong-size footwear are a tripping hazard.

The Great Britain's Women's Engineering Society (WES) is attempting to tackle this situation by gathering evidence of women's professional wardrobe tribulations. Its goal is to determine the nature and extent of the problem and to collaborate with clothing manufacturers to address need. WES president Jan Peters notes that not only is wearing ill-fitting garments in dynamic settings potentially unsafe, but the prospect may dissuade women from pursuing careers in certain fields. "We need the makers of safety wear- work boots, high visibility jackets, protective gloves, and the like-to cater to our needs," Peters says.

So never mind being dressed to nines-hopefully in the near future women won't have to resort to wearing a men's size 9 boot while working in a kennel or cattle shed.

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