Via The Daily Telegraph (also UPI), I learn that some 400 women employed by the accountancy firm Ernst & Young have attended a course “to learn how to dress appropriately for the office”.
Fleur Bothwick, head of diversity at the firm, said that while men could simply opt for a uniform of dark suit and tie, officewear was more fraught for women.
“You don’t want to be remembered as the woman with red lips, or leave people wondering, ‘How does she walk on those heels?’,” she told the magazine Personnel Today.
The voluntary sessions also advised women to “think of your colour palette – wear colours that bring out the best in your skin tone and hair colour” because, apparently, 70 per cent of first impressions are based on dress and presentation.
But possibly the scariest part of this article – if I have to choose just one – is this quote from Anne Freden, chair of the company’s women’s network
“The firm doesn’t view this as something that is nice to have, but as an integral part of the business strategy,” she said.
Because as everyone knows, the needs of business must take priority over absolutely everything else and appearance wins over ability every time.
So if anyone asks you why feminism is still necessary in the 21st century, here, at least, is one good reason: because women still suffer discrimination on the basis of our appearance and the clothes we wear. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to teeter off in my 4″ stilettos to top up the preservative in the jar where I leave my brain on my way to my desk in the morning.