Dress more provocatively, so we can win more clients.

Yes. It’s the year 2020, and yes, you read the title correctly. According to a recent report by Slater & Gordon, this is perhaps one of the more unexpected aspects of remote working.

A whooping 35% of women interviewed claimed to have been subjected to sexist workplace demands whilst working from home.

For example:

  • 41% said that they had been asked to dress up for their team;
  • 38% said that it would “please a client” if they dressed in a particular way;
  • Managers have also asked that their female employees dress more provocatively, in order to ‘help to win business’ (41%).  And to dress “sexier’ for zoom calls.
  • Of the 2000 employees surveyed, one in three females surveyed reported this experience (since March this year).

Yes. It is the year 2020. And yes, you did read all that correctly.

Now, here’s the thing. Like many people working from home during lockdown, I took to wearing ugg boots under my desk. I am certain there were many people who had smart looking suit jackets and tops over tracksuit pant bottoms.

But there was one overriding rule – keep it appropriate. Keep it professional.

So if you’d normally wear a nice suit, make up and have your hair done nicely – that’s the expected standard.

But if you’d normally wear a nice suit, and you’re now being asked to wear an evening dress or low cut top – that is not an expected standard.

And to those managers who believe it will help them sell more business, I can only think of a couple of quite specific adult industries where the looks and outfits of employees are in anyway related to the workplace.

THE TAKEAWAY

I don’t know about you, but I find the above deeply depressing.

That these attitudes persist. And that managers feel it’s ok for managers to ask their employees to perform in such a way.

That men don’t have the same demands placed on them.

That those female employees don’t feel that they can report those experiences for fear of retribution.

That women should just suck it up, and not be “snowflakes” (insert any other pejorative term).

Surely we have come further than this? And if not, maybe it’s time we get to grips with why we’re not getting further.

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Tammy Tansley
I am a coffee loving, energetic human who loves words, bright colours and spots, silly t'shirts and good champagne. Mum to two beautiful mischiefs. Long time wanderer around the world. Author. Blogger. Speaker.
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