Clarks is criticised for girls shoes called 'Dolly Babe'


Clarks has come under fire for being ‘sexist’ for the second time in a week for labelling its school shoes for girls ‘Dolly Babe’ while the boys’ range is called ‘Leader’.

Miranda Williams, 34, from Eltham, South East London, was shopping for school shoes for her twin daughters when she came across the ‘appalling’ designs.

The Labour councillor for Greenwich tweeted about the ranges, saying she was ‘appalled’ by this example of ‘everyday sexism’.

She echoed the sentiments of another mother who this week prompted a huge online debate by accusing Clarks of offering flimsy and ‘inferior’ styles for girls, compared to its sturdy range for boys. 

‘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,’ Miranda told The Sunday Times.

‘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.’

A spokesperson for Clarks told MailOnline: ‘The Dolly Babe shoe is an old and discontinued line, with only remaining stock being sold through our stores. 

Clarks sold shoes for girls called 'Dolly Babe' but the boys range was called 'Leader'

Clarks sold shoes for girls called 'Dolly Babe' but the boys range was called 'Leader'

Clarks sold shoes for girls called ‘Dolly Babe’ but the boys range was called ‘Leader’

The Leader shoes are still available on the Clarks website but the Dolly Babes have gone

The Leader shoes are still available on the Clarks website but the Dolly Babes have gone

The Leader shoes are still available on the Clarks website but the Dolly Babes have gone

‘However, following customer feedback regarding the name, we have removed the 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 and we apologise for any unintended offence caused.”

The Leader range is still available from Clarks while Dolly Babe shoes can be bought from other stockists such as Amazon and John Lewis.

The girls shoes cost £36 while the boys styles are priced at £40.

Miranda Williams, 34, discovered the range when looking for school shoes for her daughters

Miranda Williams, 34, discovered the range when looking for school shoes for her daughters

Miranda Williams, 34, discovered the range when looking for school shoes for her daughters

Miranda called the range 'sexist and said she was appalled by the gender stereotyping

Miranda called the range 'sexist and said she was appalled by the gender stereotyping

Miranda called the range ‘sexist and said she was appalled by the gender stereotyping

Earlier this week the retailer was again under fire for ‘discriminating’ against little girls with an inferior school shoe range.

Jem Moonie-Dalton, from London, accused the brand of ‘discriminating’ against girls and reinforcing gender stereotypes after she was left disappointed by the styles on offer for seven-year-old daughter.

Taking to Facebook, the 38-year-old said the boys’ section was filled with shoes that are ‘sturdy, comfortable and weather proof’ while the girls’ shoes ‘have inferior soles, are not fully covered and are not well padded at the ankle’.

Twitter users replied to Miranda's complaint, agreeing that branding shoes for girls Dolly Babe is 'offensive'

Twitter users replied to Miranda's complaint, agreeing that branding shoes for girls Dolly Babe is 'offensive'

Twitter users replied to Miranda’s complaint, agreeing that branding shoes for girls Dolly Babe is ‘offensive’

The post, which has been shared more than 10,000 times since, sparked a heated debate between parents – with some claiming Clarks had plenty of ‘sturdy’ school shoes available for girls.

Of the 78 styles of girl’s shoe listed on the Clarks ‘Girls School Shoe’ webpage, 52 are open topped shoes, 20 of them are trainer-style, while the final eight are boots, according to BBC Trending.

Clarks responded to the complaint saying it was going to see the children’s shoe department divided into ‘story’ rather than gender.

The retailer issued a statement explaining it is focused on creating ‘more unisex shoes’ following customer feedback but that ‘it is not always possible to implement all the changes we want to make as quickly as we would like’.