A beauty queen and construction manager has launched a range of women’s footwear for the building site – including feminine steel-capped boots.
Miss England finalist Sophie Lydia Smith wants to challenge stereotypes in the building trade and attract more women to the industry.
The 25-year-old has designed the new products to combine feminine touches with safety features required by personal protective equipment.
In male-dominated industries like construction, up to 90 per cent of the workforce are men, leading to companies developing a “one-size-fits-all” approach to clothing.
Many footwear brands give preference to unisex ranges and tend to always prioritise safety over appearance.
It is hoped the new designs will allow women to still feel feminine in the male-dominated organisation.
Sophie, from Cheltenham, Glos., said: “Have you ever noticed that industries lacking in women often involve safety equipment?
“The shoes are fitted, smart and can be worn in the office as well as on site.
“The idea is that women shouldn’t have to change their shoes from normal courts to rigger boots every time they have a site visit while often males have a shoe that fits both specifications.
“I feel this campaign has a positive and important impact on attracting more women to the profession; this is because showing a female in the role in the media demonstrates that it is a career for both sexes.
“This move ensures men and women are seen as the face of the profession thus inspiring girls to step forward.”
Sophie, who finished third in this year’s Miss England finals in August, partnered with UK label Amblers Safety for the new design.
The project followed complaints from female members of the Union of Construction, Allied Traders and Technicians (UCATT) about ill-fitting clothes.
A survey found that three in 10 women were afraid to complain about poor treatment to their managers and 51 per cent said they were treated worse due to their gender.
UCATT’s National Secretary, Brian Rye, said: “There is no reason why the construction industry should be any different from other sectors in terms of equality and diversity.
“Women working in construction have an absolute right to be treated equally to their male colleagues and both unions and employers need to work far harder to ensure that occurs.”
The new designs will be launched internationally to retailers by safety footwear specialists at the A+A International Trade Fair in Germany in October.