Women feel pressured to dress ‘sexier’ and wear more make-up at work

Women increasingly feel pressurised to dress ‘sexier’ and wear more make-up at work, according to findings from a recent survey.

Image via Shutterstock
Image via Shutterstock

The survey, conducted by Slater and Gordon Lawyers, found that employers regularly tell women to put on more make-up, wear high heels and short skirts.

The research revealed that one in five women said they felt more attention was paid to their appearance by their bosses than to their male peers. Nearly one in ten women have been told by bosses that they preferred them to wear high heels whilst in the office or with clients, because it made them ‘more appealing’.

Shockingly, many women surveyed said they had been told to dress more provocatively and to be ‘sexier’; with 86 per cent of those feeling their career might suffer if they refused.

The survey found that men were aware of the disparity, with 48 per cent saying that they felt their dress code was more clearly defined and colleagues were less likely to comment about their appearance than a female colleagues.

Josephine Van Lierop, an employment lawyer at Slater and Gordon said, “The findings of this survey are very disappointing but not surprising.”

“There are still fat too many employers that think it is acceptable to make disparaging remarks or comments about a woman’s appearance.”

“This sort of sexism is all too prevalent in the workplace – particularly in certain sectors such as financial services, hospitality and The City.”

“The current position on dress codes under UK employment law is relatively clear: an employer is allowed to impose a dress code on its employees. But usually this will be put in place for health and safety reasons, or to promote a particular image, for example, of smartness and efficiency.”

“A dress code must not be discriminatory on protected grounds such as gender or religious belief, and disable employees have the right to have adjustments made to alleviate disadvantage.”

About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.

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