Coronavirus: Women are told to dress “sexier” when working from home, survey finds | Economic news


Offices may be closed but sexism in the workplace is still on the rise – with women being asked to dress “sexier” and wear makeup for video calls, according to a new survey.

Figures from employment law firm Slater and Gordon showed that 35% of women had experienced at least one sexist demand in the workplace since coronavirus the lockdown began in March.

Reasons given for suggesting how employees should dress included that it “would help win new business” or that it was important to “look better for the team”.

The survey interviewed 2,000 people who are normally based in offices but who were working from home during the lockdown.

“It was hoped that HR [human resources] departments would see a dramatic drop in reports of sexist behavior as offices close across the country, ”the report said.

However, he added, the survey showed that “sexism has instead found new and insidious ways to thrive online.”

It found that 34% of women were asked to do makeup or work their hair, while 27% were asked to “dress sexier or more provocative.”

The report found that nearly 40% said requests about their appearance were directed at themselves or other women on their teams, rather than their male colleagues.

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He added that 60% had not reported requests for more provocative dress to HR.

Danielle Parsons, employment lawyer at Slater and Gordon, said: “It is absolutely wrong for a manager or anyone in a position of power to suggest, even politely, that a woman is more sexually attractive in the workplace. .

“It’s a powerful form of coercion that makes women feel like they have to adhere to the manager’s request and be more visually pleasing to be successful in their jobs.

“It’s humiliating for women.

“Requests of this nature are discriminatory and illegal when male counterparts are not treated in this way, or when these unwanted requests create a humiliating or degrading environment for women. “

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Siobhan Endean, National Equalities Officer at Unite, said: “Far too many women still face sexism at work in today’s society.

“It may be that during the coronavirus lockdown, those who hold these loathsome and outdated views were encouraged to speak them out more openly because they may be hiding behind a computer screen. “


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