THINK Debate - Workplace Sexism

08 March 2017

Nicola Thorpe

Communications and External Relations

Time: 14:00
Venue: Ivor Crewe, Colchester Campus


Our THINK series allows you to learn how to argue and debate critical issues of the day along with your fellow students.

In recent years, campaign groups including the groundbreaking Everyday Sexism project and the newly-founded Women's Equality Party have done much to highlight the perilous state of women's equality in the United Kingdom, highlighting the endemic and deep-rooted seams of sexism which run through all strata of British cultural life. In particular, campaigners have sought to highlight the continued issues of discrimination in the workplace, from the longstanding gender pay gap (which the government estimate at an 18% disparity in earnings between men and women), through to inequalities in promotion and hiring. 

 On the occasion of International Women's Day, THINK! will gdiscuss the issues arising from these questions of workplace gender discrimination. Why have these issues persisted into the 21st century? What can be done to combat them? And how do issues of sexism in the workplace relate to and reflect broader intersectional issues of discrimination in wider society? 

Our speaker will be Nicola Thorp. Nicola Thorp is an actress, writer and women’s equality campaigner from Blackpool, Lancashire. 

Whilst working as a temp between acting jobs, Nicola found herself being dismissed from a receptionist role after refusing to wear high heels and make-up to the office. Surprised to find out that her employer was acting within the guidelines of the law, Thorp set up a petition to “Make it illegal for a company to require a woman to wear high heels to work”, which made front page news in the UK and drew global media attention. The petition received over 150,000 signatures in 72 hours, making it eligible for debate in parliament. Subsequently, Nicola has given evidence and spoken at Westminster in support of women’s equality in the workplace and the importance of intersectional feminism in modern society, as well as talking at many public events on these issues.

An active member of the Fawcett Society and supporter of the Women’s Equality Party, Nicola is also on an advisory board for evaluating the UK Parliament’s e-Petitions System on a project that will run until 2020. She is also the founder of, a website, blog and podcast dedicated to women’s issues and gender discrimination due to launch next month.



Video sketch on sexual harassment in schools (private link to sketch as not available to view by public until website launch):

Video sketch on gender-specific advertising (as above):

Telegraph Article on dress code policies: 

Telegraph article on Theresa May:

Interviews for 
BBC News:

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This event is open to the general public.


Further information
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