Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Firm requests job candidates are women because 'role includes reception duties'

Mad Men.jpg

Are you a whizz with words? Speak Russian? Have a vagina? Then you have a shot at the most hilariously sexist job of 2015.

A web design company has provoked anger - and pity - over its puzzling advert for a content writer/SEO specialist that says a female candidate is preferred, because the writing role includes receptionist duties.

Come again? 

Canadian company Vestra Inet wants its new employee to write web content, have a handle on social media and SEO and "knowledge of Russian is a plus".

But when it comes to the receptionist duties that need to be picked up as part of the role, its the anatomy of its prospective employees that seals the deal.

Maybe our slimmer fingers make us superior at filing forms? Or our high-pitched sing-song voices give us an edge when it comes to answering the phone?

Naturally, Twitter lit up in outrage:

The Toronto-based company scrambled to issue a sorry-not-sorry statement on its Facebook page:

“We would like to address the attention and comments that we have been receiving after our company posted an advertisement on LinkedIn for the position of “Content Writer & SEO Specialist” with receptionist responsibilities.

“Several individuals have found the wording of the ad to be offensive, and we want to assure everyone that we did not mean to discriminate against any particular gender or group. Vestra Inet is a company that believes in promoting diversity. Our staff currently consists of employees of various genders and ethnicities. Above all, Vestra Inet values knowledge and talent.”

In case it was in doubt, the Ontario Human Rights Commission does state that it's illegal to discriminate against groups either directly, or indirectly in job adverts.

Vestra's is an odd kind of sexism. The firm is clear that both sexes are equally capable of fulfilling the professional skills required for the bulk of the role and yet simultaneously harks back to a Mad Men-era notion that lower-skilled duties can only be performed by women.

As many commentators pointed out, the company may be wiser searching for a HR specialist to drag them into 2015.

Have you experienced sexism in the search for a new job? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook.


jenni murray feminism.jpg

Jenni Murray: I wish I'd never changed my name after marriage


The top 10 emojis used during sexting

toronto wedding.jpg

Couple cancel wedding to spend money helping Syrian refugee family


Researchers discover TV's first ever interracial kiss was British


New ‘hidden’ hair dye trend is perfect for the wary and cautious

kylie minogue.jpg

Fashion highlights from the week so far


We speak to the model who ran a 'realistic' Instagram account


Meet the 29-year-old who's decided to get sterilised



“How beauty rituals help me manage my depression”

One writer found comfort in an unexpected place

21 Oct 2016

Stress is genuinely good for you, experts reveal

Forget everything you thought you knew about stress…

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Oct 2016

Must-watch Christmas TV: tune in for Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes

Just in time for Christmas

by Sarah Biddlecombe
21 Oct 2016

Bake Off fans, the BBC has already found a replacement show for GBBO

And it's set to hit our televisions very soon...

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Oct 2016

Costa’s fancy new menu includes avocado toast and Prosecco

You may want to dress up for the world’s poshest Costa…

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Oct 2016

Real-life victims of revenge porn share their stories

“Within a week, everyone had seen them… I tried to kill myself shortly after”

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Oct 2016

People diagnosed with a terminal illness share powerful life lessons

“You only get one life – and we need to live it”

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Oct 2016

This gin is officially the best in Europe – and it's from the UK

Gin drinkers, take note…

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Oct 2016

Amazing tasting menus from top UK restaurants for under £50

Total steals from Michelin-starred spots

by Amy Swales
20 Oct 2016

9 hilarious tips for making it in a male-dominated workplace

"Never say anything that sounds like a question, even questions."

by Harriet Hall
20 Oct 2016