Gender Bias In Shoemaking

Break the Bias Feature Image 6

Think about it topical thinkers, how many times have you gone to the shoe store in search of your little sisters sports shoe size, or loafers for your mum or even your shoe size as a girl and comfortaly found them?

How about guys who have small feet but society standardly makes large shoe sizes because it is believed all men have big legs.

How about the shoes that have feminine colors but male design (shape/structure). No one has really noticed all this because everyone believes the shoe companies always have alternatives. Even from the name of the collection like the 'Airforce one' it is already assumed that its strictly male and even there is for females they would be extremely expensive. All this is caused because most cobblers(shoe designers) are males and even the few females are assumed to produce only feminine shoes. This issue is really common but because there is always something upcoming in the fashion world no one would really bother to notice.

The the big questions are;

If men can design dresses for females then why can't females be given an equal opportunity?

Are we only allowed to express our designs in our rooms?

Why are female shoe designers hardly recognized?

In my part of the world where shoe designing is not prominent, if a lady should venture into the business she would recieve really bad comments from society or they would assume she has dropped out of school or lived a wayward life.

Most youth empowerment train youths in skill aquisition but after that what happens next? Everyone goes back home and tries to build a business others especially females end up as marketers.

This may not be prominent in your country but it is in mine and it has proven to be a really big stone in the path of gender equality.

Comments (36)

  • tom Tom @ Topical Talk
    04 Apr 2022

    Thank you for this important contribution. Can you give us evidence of most shoemakers being male? What would be the other consequences if more shoemakers were women?

    1. British Council.jpg inventive_analysis | Rhemaville Christian Academy | Nigeria
      Tom @ Topical Talk's comment 04 Apr 2022

      Many shoe brands are being made by males for example ;Santoni, Paul Smith , Gucci , Carmina. All these brands and many others are made by male maybe their are female workers in the shoe company but the owners and creators are males .In the society I live in if females become shoemakers successful or not they will be blamed for being misfortuned.

      1. British Council.jpg willing_imagination | Marka Prep. Girls School 2 | Jordan
        inventive_analysis's comment 05 Apr 2022

        Let's pause a little at the point where shoemaking is a men's only business. From my point of view, women have been involved in all fields, so why do they not have the opportunity, along with men, to participate in this important sector? But man's dominance over things made him selfish to control everything.

    2. British Council.jpg diligent_library | Rhemaville Christian Academy | Nigeria
      Tom @ Topical Talk's comment 04 Apr 2022

      CALVIN KLEIN is one of the most famous shoemaker and designer in the world. Another consequence the woman would face is society not appreciating her design and patronizing her. The society would have doubts about the durability of her shoes and they would stick to the stereotype that "she is incompetent and she doesn't have the abilities" and she would have limited access to training and resources . According to my research world top 10 shoemakers are men and I think the society should learn to give women equal opportunities as men to showcase their skills in shoemaking.

      1. British Council.jpg willing_imagination | Marka Prep. Girls School 2 | Jordan
        diligent_library's comment 05 Apr 2022

        This is what a woman suffers from, the popular saying that she cannot enter all areas of work, but the question arises, who is responsible for this?

    3. British Council.jpg capable_seal | Jabalia Prep Girls A School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
      Tom @ Topical Talk's comment 04 Apr 2022

      Today I was in the library and I found a book about Jean-Ernest Matzelliger and I read that it was he who ignited the shoe revolution and also developed it .

      1. tom Tom @ Topical Talk
        capable_seal's comment 05 Apr 2022

        Well done for doing this research - how did he ignite the shoe revolution?

        1. British Council.jpg capable_seal | Jabalia Prep Girls A School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
          Tom @ Topical Talk's comment 08 Apr 2022

          That he invented a machine to fix the upper part of the shoe to the sole after that was done manually.

  • British Council.jpg champion_elephant | Rhemaville Christian Academy | Nigeria
    04 Apr 2022

    Come to think about it I totally understand where you are coming from let us take a look at big shoemaking companies and specific brands, let us take a look at sneakers, we can all say that is a male dominated type of shoe to be honest, most sneakers companies do not even make smaller sizes at all, maybe they feel like they will make more profit if they focus on males the sad part is that is actually to some extent true but it is an unfair reality. It is not just about the sizes it is also about the design don't you think, there really needs to be a little more variety in shoe making because I am personally tired of settling for bigger shoe sizes. Most shoe companies do not really have smaller sizes they either release a particular line for women or they do not do any other thing and even with that the sizes are super small there is this misconception that says women must have small feet, so I feel that has to stop.

    1. British Council.jpg willing_imagination | Marka Prep. Girls School 2 | Jordan
      champion_elephant's comment 05 Apr 2022

      This is what my mother suffers from. The size of her feet is rather small, and when she wants to buy shoes for herself, she is forced to take shoes with a slightly larger number. I think if women are given the opportunity to delve into this field, they will innovate because they are the best able to know what suits them.

  • British Council.jpg incredible_trumpet | Rhemaville Christian Academy | Nigeria
    04 Apr 2022

    Well there is no specified statistics but in my country I can say almost 80% of males are shoemakers than females, there are many reasons but in this context animal skin and hide is used and most times the males are the ones involved in getting them from the source so this would definitely give them an upper hand in the business. As for the other question about there being more female shoemakers the consequences are many but most likely there would be evolution in the fashion because more shoes would be unisex and vital observations would be carried out before producing a shoe.
    Another thing is that women may tend to impose their ideas seeing that for the past few years there has been no opportunity given to them and because of the fear that they would be taken to the miry claim they would want to accomplish much before they are taken away from the limelights.

    1. British Council.jpg willing_imagination | Marka Prep. Girls School 2 | Jordan
      incredible_trumpet's comment 06 Apr 2022

      I think that women have a special touch, as women are more interested in fashion than men. They can be distinguished by designing and manufacturing models, but the nature of a man does not like women to be better than him is the instinct that has been found inside him since his birth. All men have this impression, but some of them have flexibility in dealing He takes things simple.

  • British Council.jpg quickwitted_iceberg | Rhemaville Christian Academy | Nigeria
    04 Apr 2022

    Well, I personally feel that women are more considerate than men. So, I believe that if more shoemakers were women or if more women should go into shoemaking, then there would be a wider range of alternatives because there would be more shoes for women (with female design) and shoe sizes would be more accommodating to fit females' shoe sizes and even guys with small feet. I say this because of my belief that women are more considerate.

    1. British Council.jpg willing_imagination | Marka Prep. Girls School 2 | Jordan
      quickwitted_iceberg's comment 05 Apr 2022

      Yes, right, I think that women's designs will be more considerate because women are the ones who take care of the family and they are more aware of their needs, so they will have the ability to know what is needed.

  • British Council.jpg jocular_explanation | Rhemaville Christian Academy | Nigeria
    04 Apr 2022

    So far, the top 10 shoe brands are owned by men. For example, Nike was founded by two men, Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman and it is considered the best shoe brand in the world. According to the research I've done, the shoe brands founded by women are hardly popular, not even part of the top ten best shoe brands. If I ask now, how many people know of Brother Vellies? There's hardly up to ten of us on the hub that'll know.
    I believe the society has refused to acknowledge female shoemakers probably because they feel the products will not be efficient enough, with enough time and hope in them, women can push past the boundaries they're forced to be in.

    1. tom Tom @ Topical Talk
      jocular_explanation's comment 04 Apr 2022

      Thank you for putting in the research to enlighten us about this!

    2. British Council.jpg willing_imagination | Marka Prep. Girls School 2 | Jordan
      jocular_explanation's comment 06 Apr 2022

      Cult Gaia is one of the top brands of women's footwear. Their creations are simply exceptional, they are 'cool' and 'modern', and it's no surprise that the brand is famous for its designer wooden handbags. Also the top brand of women's footwear for the party season, Cult Gaia has hundreds of selections to choose from.

  • British Council.jpg rational_grape | Makini Academy | Kenya
    04 Apr 2022

    You are right incredible_trumpet. Shoemaking has always been stereotyped as only for men and because people stereotype such jobs it may seem bad to other people to a woman making shoes. I went to check for female shoemakers but found more men being shoemakers. According to https://www.jstor.org/page-scan-delivery/get-page-scan/2762515/0 in 1905 women started gaining interest in shoemaking but it hasn't made a big impact in the modern world. WE NEED TO BREAK THIS BIAS.

  • British Council.jpg willing_imagination | Marka Prep. Girls School 2 | Jordan
    04 Apr 2022

    One of the biggest differences between men's and women's shoes is in the size and width of the shoes. Men's shoes are usually wider and taller than women's shoes. Another noticeable difference between men's and women's shoes is that men's shoes come in a more limited style and design compared to women's shoes.

  • British Council.jpg willing_imagination | Marka Prep. Girls School 2 | Jordan
    04 Apr 2022

    Some may think that this profession is difficult, so it is limited to men, but in my opinion, women can leave their mark in this field and prove their existence.
    Women are fashion makers because they always want to be special, so you find them looking for elegance in everything they wear.
    I am sure that there are women who have a prominent role in the shoe industry, but they did not know because the fame of men overshadowed the fame of women.

  • British Council.jpg capable_seal | Jabalia Prep Girls A School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
    04 Apr 2022

    According to my personal experience; some would say that shoemaking is not a matter of question; but l am sure it is. Impressions about not involving women in man_made products have to be changed. I think there is no problem to involve women in production and provoke their creativity.
    Different ideas generates different things. Equality gender have to be assured even in shoemaking.
    But here we have two questions
    1_"What is the main reason for depriving women from some crafts such as shoemaking despite their role in other fields?

    2_Can we easily change the traditions and find various shoes made by women even in the long run?

    1. tom Tom @ Topical Talk
      capable_seal's comment 05 Apr 2022

      These are both excellent questions, capable_seal. What do you think about them?

  • British Council.jpg willing_imagination | Marka Prep. Girls School 2 | Jordan
    05 Apr 2022

    The profession of a shoemaker is one of the difficult, strenuous and complex jobs. Here you need to be not only a specialist in material cutting and sewing, but also an accomplished designer.
    When shoe stitching falls into the hands of a professional, it is not easy because he takes the measurements of the feet, makes them fit, and gives the details of the shoes to the financier. Then he begins sewing, gluing, tying the soles, drying and finishing. The final step is to tighten the shoe and return it to the proper shape.
    Women designers excelled in the world of shoes and produced unique designs for different shoes that reflect their high artistry and creativity. International models and stars have worn their shoes on many occasions, including Kylie Jenner, Bella Hadid, Jennifer Lopez, and others. In addition to some of them receiving a number of international awards for shoes.

  • British Council.jpg aware_painting | Shouka Prep Girls School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
    05 Apr 2022

    If women were participating in the designs of men’s shoes, a lot of things would be overshadowed by a clear change, starting with the designs taking into account the presence of the female component and thus women’s shoes would have to be designed, in addition to taking the opinion of women in the designs because they are part of the production process, which will enable women to participate in the community and prove their worth In the works that men think are limited to him only....

  • British Council.jpg strong_bird | Marka Prep. Girls School 2 | Jordan
    05 Apr 2022

    Hello, my dear
    This is a wonderful and rational speech
    But I have another point of view, why women are subjected to prejudice in everything they do, why society considers women a disgrace, why should we as women strive, persevere, and work to prove to society the opposite, and while men are unemployed, men enjoy popularity and mediation, and if a woman asked why they told her (because he is a man) Even in everything there is prejudice
    How can we eliminate this problem?
    In all honesty, I am writing this comment and I am deeply saddened by society's cruelty to us
    Thank you to all of you and everyone who tried to eradicate this phenomenon that is currently prevalent in society💖💖

  • British Council.jpg rational_grape | Makini Academy | Kenya
    05 Apr 2022

    In my country Kenya, there is a woman who has a big company that now manufactures the first running and jogging shoes in Africa. The shoe company is called Enda. Enda is Swahili which means go in English. The Kenyan entrepreneur is Navalayo Osembo-Ombambati. She is a lawyer and an accountant, Navalayo gave up a job at the United Nations in New York to set up a business making running shoes in Kenya. She always dreamt of building on Kenya's rich sporting heritage while giving job opportunities to boys and girls in the community. She grew up in the presence of many athletes but the shoes were too expensive so that is why she thought of this. She chose the name Enda because when athletes run they are cheered by their fans ''go''( Enda in Swahili ). She has inspired many Africans. The shoes are educative because;
    1) The logo is of a spear. This spear is adapted from the Kenyan flag which means the spear is the spear used in the war with the British.
    2)The numbers written near the lace straps are the number of skulls there are at Koobi Fora Museum in Kenya. She gave these ideas to the designers because she wanted people to know that they are wearing shoes made in Kenya.
    Seeing is believing and you can look for the Enda company.

  • British Council.jpg willing_imagination | Marka Prep. Girls School 2 | Jordan
    05 Apr 2022

    Have you ever wondered what questions can be asked when buying shoes? Here are some questions:
    Is there another dark color for this model?
    Are the shoes suitable for the elderly and are large sizes available?
    What are the available colors of this model?
    Is leather affected by water and cracking when cleaning or polishing?

  • British Council.jpg extraordinary_squirrel | Rhemaville Christian Academy | Nigeria
    05 Apr 2022

    According to my research the first shoemaker for men was Christopher Nelme of England, who was the earliest recorded named shoemaker but I ask myself this question, why isn't it in history the first shoemaker for women? It is not fair she deserved to be recognize for her outstanding skills and her ability to come up with such a fantabulous idea to protect women's feet with fabric and other materials.
    For me I feel some female shoemaker are afraid to show their products, for me they should not be afraid of showing their products to the world, they should come out and show their products and they should never feel their products are not good enough there is an opportunity for everyone to become great and they should push harder in this fight and they should never feel alone in this fight.

  • British Council.jpg inspired_tamarillo | Rhemaville Christian Academy | Nigeria
    05 Apr 2022

    In my country, shoemaking is seen as a male thing. The percentage of female shoemakers in Nigeria is about 5 % out of a hundred and I ask myself, what is so wrong in seeing a woman making a shoe? Are the shoes not all made with the same God-given hands and materials? There are several reasons why female shoemakers are not recognized or end up giving up which include;
    1) Lack of support: Female shoemakers are not given support both financially, morally and even emotionally even by people close to them which is why they are not able to continue the business they might have started and end up quitting.
    2)General stereotypes:Since the inception of time, males have dominated the shoemaking industry so thay are already seen as the world's greatest shoemakers. Also,women are perceived to be the weaker gender and people do not feel that they may have the endurance and strength it takes to make shoes because it is believed to be a tough job.
    Some ways that I think that can help female shoemakers to be recognized and excel include;
    1)Giving equal opportunities to both male and female shoemakers: People should be able to try out different shoes made by both males and females and survey which they think is best and then patronise which evr one they want because I am sure that there are alot of great female shoe makers in the world.
    2)Investment: People should be willing to help female shoe makers by investing in their businesses “One of the major challenges is getting investment. It amazes me that in this generation of ours, some people will tell you that they don’t or cannot invest in a shoemaker because she’s a woman which is a very wrong idealogy. People should be wil
    lling to take the risk and invest in female shoemakers because who knows what good might comee out of it afterall, isn't life all about taking risks?

    1. Olivia-Avatar.jpg Olivia @ Topical Talk
      inspired_tamarillo's comment 06 Apr 2022

      Well done for using your problem-solving skills here and suggesting some solutions!

  • British Council.jpg willing_imagination | Marka Prep. Girls School 2 | Jordan
    06 Apr 2022

    I'd like to ask a question here: Why is everyone competing to make unique shoes? Does this have anything to do with the financial return? Or is it just a hobby of the human being? As girls, we care so much about fashion, whether it's clothes or shoes, and sometimes we overlook whether shoes are comfortable or not. My question is also why is the medical aspect neglected in some models despite the rush of women to buy it?

  • British Council.jpg aware_painting | Shouka Prep Girls School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
    06 Apr 2022

    While browsing, I was struck by what Adidas has done, which releases new and advanced shoes in the world of marathons, but what struck me was that the design was contrary to what major companies were used to, as the company developed the distinctive characteristics of the new shoes, we all know that runners' shoes were made of fibers. However, Adidas prepared the shoes with a series of curved or flexible bars that are stuffed with a foamy material, and the beautiful thing about the shoe is that the bars follow the shape of the foot and are curved and comfortable for the wearer. Besides setting records, this was clear: “In the world record set by the Kenyan runner Gebshireshire in Prague, all the female half-marathon runners were wearing Adidas shoes, they were all wearing the new shoes.” My question is, do we all think Adidas is going to put features that make it easier to run? Women's wearing of sports shoes, which we used to be limited to men???? And if so, does he add to her balance for breaking prejudice???

  • British Council.jpg constructive_moth | Rhemaville Christian Academy | Nigeria
    06 Apr 2022

    There is a lot of discrimination targeted toward women in the shoe-making industry but there are still several women who have succeeded in their shoe-making careers over the years despite all odds. I want to share the story of an inspiring female shoe-maker that has succeeded in the shoe-making business so that we can see how she has made it despite the challenges she faced. She is proudly Nigerian!

    Nigerian shoe-maker, Florence Bodex, has made a career out of using her skills to make a living rather than focusing on criticisms from people. She has been known to encourage other young girls to engage themselves in the shoemaking business as well and many girls have benefitted from her. Today, she trains young girls at no cost they are trained for free at her factory sited in the "Surulere area" of Lagos State.

    In the interview, she had with the newsmen to mark International Women's Day (IWD), she said, “I do feel discriminated doing male-dominated work but I don’t care. It is how well you carry your brand and your mindset about being a lady doing enviously well in a male-dominated environment, which is the core focus and selling point.” “I paid a shoemaker N30,000 in Ajegunle to learn the trade. And I have no regrets because today, I make shoes for governors, ministers, and celebrities among others.” After her training, she started making branded shoes and she wrote "Bodex Media" on them to cover all types of events people have.

    She admitted that she had no intention of turning her shoe-making into a business venture at first. She said “a Nollywood actress commissioned me to make four pairs of shoes worth N20,000. That token became the seed I invested to start Bodex Footwear today.” This encounter encouraged her to turn shoe-making into a business adventure.

    Bodex also runs an NGO known as BEWI AFRICA (Bodex Exceptional Women Initiative), where she counsels young girls on the streets about shoemaking, mechanics, painting and more.

    And now, her advice for all young girls who want to venture into shoe-making...
    “I tell them it is a male-dominated work but you have to choose one and make it work if we are fighting for gender equality.
    “Don’t feel threatened for doing what men are known for, as physical appearance is different from your strength and deliverables.”
    "Yes, you might be frightened initially, but for the love of choosing to challenge, such narrative is the least you want to dwell on."

  • British Council.jpg optimistic_speech | Sanour Basic Girls School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
    11 Apr 2022

    In fact, this is what we notice when we go to buy shoes, so whoever has small feet will suffer from this problem
    I think that women have an interest in fashion, and this is what enables them to put golden touches on products
    We note that males are the most prevalent in the shoe industry and international companies manufacture large sizes because they believe that this will make profits to focus on males!!

    When I searched for the international companies for the shoe industry, I found that the founder was a man. These companies are famous and a big name around the world
    As for some companies founded by women that did not have this name and fame
    This is not fair!
    Society refused to support and recognize women's companies.

  • British Council.jpg pioneering_wilddog | Jabalia Prep Girls A School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
    13 Apr 2022

    IOk, when talking about shoes, in my country there is not much difference, men and women wear the same fashion. for example it you was a girl snd you wear your brother shoes it will not be a big thing , because they consider sharing things between brothers and sisters as a natural thing , on the other hand, we all know that high-heeled shoes are for girls, but there is now production youth shoes with inner heels.
    and for the point I mentioned that most shoe designers are men, it could be that the most famous are men, With equal opportunities, and this may also be due to the fact that women try to enter major fields, such as medicine, engineering, and teaching, because they are interested in that, but for men, crafts are more suitable for them.

  • British Council.jpg super_writer | Beitsurik Girls Basic School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
    13 Apr 2022

    I want to tell you, my friends, that when I read the entire article, I decided to search for the names of the most famous famous shoe designers in the world and I was searching and browsing the sites. I noticed something that these sites only showed the names of male shoe designers, and no female shoe designer was mentioned either. Was she an Arab or a foreigner, and this made me make sure that the world does not give any opportunity for a female to work in any field, but I found a site that showed some names of Arab designers of shoes, such as:
    1- Designed by Amina Maadi
    2- Designer: Andrea Wazen
    3- Catherine Hanna, designer
    4- Najeba Hayat
    The thing that I liked is that every shoe designer has their own brand.

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