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Clarks embroiled in sexism row over 'Dolly Babe' school shoes for girls

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 13/08/2017 Chloe Chaplain

© Provided by Independent Print Limited Clarks has reportedly pulled a line of school shoes for girls after it was accused of “blatant discrimination” and “sexism”.

The shop became the centre of the row over lines of children’s shoes which were named ‘Dolly Babe’ for girls and ‘Leader’ for boys.

Miranda Williams, a Greenwich councillor, reacted angrily to the choice when she went online to buy shoes for her two daughters.

Ms Williams called out the store for displaying “everyday sexism”, furiously writing on Twitter: “Looking at school shoes from @clarksshoes - appalled to find a Dolly Babe range for girls but a Leader range for boys.”

She later said the name Dolly Babe is “purely offensive and inappropriate” and shadow minister for women and equalities Carolyn Harris added that it was an example of "blatant discrimination".

Ms Williams told The Sunday Times: “The idea that we should be bringing up a generation of boys to aspire to become leaders while the best hope for girls is to be Dolly Babes is just grim.

"It makes me so angry. It's bad enough that girls' shoes are so flimsy and so unsuitable for jumping in puddles or climbing trees compared to boys' shoes, which are so much more robust. But to create such a stereotype is totally unacceptable."

The Dolly Babe shoes are no longer available online. Leader shoes, in the boys section, are still listed on the website.

The retailer told the newspaper: "Following customer feedback we have removed the [Dolly Babe] shoe from sale online and are in the process of removing the name from the remaining stock in store, though this process will take time to complete.

“We are working hard to ensure our ranges reflect our gender neutral ethos."

The Standard has contacted Clarks for comment.

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