Opinion

A message to the company paying women a cash bonus for wearing a short skirt to work

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Hannah-Rose Yee
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Woman in skirt

A Russian aluminium manufacturer is offering its female employees more money if they opt to wear a skirt or dress to work. Yes, you read that right. 

Light your Ruth Bader Ginsburg prayer candle. Repeat the words Hillary Clinton like a mantra. Visualise yourself shaking hands with Michelle Obama while she beams benevolently at you and shares the pearls of her deepest wisdom.

Think of this as your self-care routine, the feminist fortification you need to put in place like some kind of inspirational mental scaffolding before you read this story. Make sure the foundations are strong. Because this tale of appalling workplace sexism is going to make your blood boil.

Tatprof, an aluminium company in Russia, is turning the month of June into a “femininity marathon” for its employees. What the business really needs, organisers appear to have mooted, is to reinforce archaic gender binaries and institutionalised misogyny. 

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To that end, they are running a dumpling-making competition – in order to discover which of their female employees is the most adept at the essential workplace skill of homemaking – and, for the men in the company, the chance to display their athletic prowess via a pull-up contest. 

Men and women at work

They continue: “Many women automatically wear trousers to work, which is why we hope that our campaign will raise our ladies’ awareness, allowing them to feel their femininity and charm when they make the choice of wearing a skirt or dress.”

In news that will surprise no female reader, the idea for the campaign came directly from the charming mind of Tatprof’s male CEO, a man by the name of Sergei Rachkov. 

“He really wants to maintain the female essence in every female employee of the company,” Anastasia Kirillova, a Tatprof employee, explained. “So that young women do not have male haircuts, do not change into trousers, so that they engage themselves in handicraft, project all their warmth into raising children.” 

Ah, I understand now. Tatprof is the site of a rip in the space-time continuum. It’s a wormhole, a portal into another dimension, and instead of existing in the year 2019 alongside Ava DuVernay and Jacinda Ardern and every woman fighting back against draconian abortion law reform in the US, you walk through the doors of Tatprof and you’re transported back – like Claire and Jamie in Outlander – straight to some Mad Men-era shit in the Fifties. That can be the only explanation for this, right?  

Sadly, there’s another one – that there are still many, many people in the world who think that they can treat women like dolls to be dressed up, manipulated and ogled for their own enjoyment. 

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Many of those people are high-ranking officials in position of power, the same kind of power that makes them think that it’s OK to tell a woman what to wear to work. That it’s OK to say that femininity is the only thing that determines a woman’s value. And that it’s bloody OK to bloody tell a woman what to bloody do, in any circumstance, ever, period. (Spoiler alert, Comrade Rachkov, it fucking isn’t.)

It’s hard enough being a human woman that exists in this hellfire earth without this kind of shit going on. 

I hope the female employees of Tatprof make like Ruth Bader Ginsburg and sue the trousers off their male managers. And then, wear the trousers to work.  

Images: Unsplash

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Hannah-Rose Yee

Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer based in London. You can find her on the internet talking about movies, television and Chris Pine.

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