Bank accused of sexism after female staff advised not to dress like prostitutes

THE Bank of England has been accused of “institutional sexism” after it held a seminar for female staff advising them on what clothing, shoes and makeup to wear.
The controversial advice was given during a “Dress for Success” event, at which female staff were lectured on the importance of wearing appropriate jewellery and makeup at work.

A memo leaked from the meeting last Wednesday details the advice gi

ven to staff, including the warning that wearing certain accessories would make women workers look like prostitutes.

“Look professional, not fashionable, be careful with perfume, always wear a heel of some sort – maximum two inches, always wear some sort of makeup, even if it’s just lipstick,” the memo said.

It was distributed by a professional image consultancy firm hired by the Bank.

The memo added: “Shoes and skirt must be the same colour. No-nos include ankle chains – professional but not the one you want to be associated with, white high heels, overstuffed handbags, an overload of rings and double pierced ears.”

Leading equal opportunities solicitors said female employees would have a potential case for legal action against the Bank for sexual discrimination.

Lawrence Davies, of solicitors Equal Justice, said: “It is indicative of an institutionally sexist environment. If women are being judged by what they wear then it suggests they are being treated differently to males.”

However, Pippa Rees, director of Naked Ambition Personal Branding Consultants, said how you looked was important for success. “How you dress can make you have more authority and command more respect,” she said

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