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  • Writer's pictureGirls Empowerment Movement

How Dresscodes Can Be Detrimental

Updated: Jun 29, 2020

Woman and man in bar.

Have you ever noticed the difference in a male employee’s outfit vs. a female employee’s outfit at a restaurant? Women for centuries have had to follow dress codes if they want a job even at the leading restaurants. Why do women have to wear high heels, heavy makeup, tight skirts or any such revealing outfits whereas men get to wear pants?

Some critics argue that women do it in order to receive more tips. The reality is NO. Women have to wear such outfits because of the restaurant’s policy. Some restaurants suggest that having their female staff dress in a certain way attracts more customers to dine in. But, according to a CBC documentary, when customers were interviewed about whether a women’s outfit makes any difference in their restaurant choice or how much tip they want to give, the majority said that it didn't matter.

We as a community must understand that having such policies make women vulnerable to sexual harassment and interfere with their ability to do the job properly. Women get unwanted attention that comes from the outfits they wear and it can be nerve-wracking for many.

Apart from this, many women also develop a variety of health problems in the long run because of wearing heels for long periods during their youth years. According to Restaurants Canada, 22% of Canadians find their first job in the restaurant industry, and with the competition in jobs these days, it is just not as easy to refuse a job simply because of the dress code. People are forced to take whatever they get and later face ‘sex discrimination’.

There were many concerns raised over this issue in November 2015 and thus on International Women’s Day in 2016, the OHRC (Ontario Human Rights Commission) issued a new statement addressing this issue. The new statement issued a ‘call of action’ to various employers to review their dress codes and remove discriminatory requirements. It also highlighted that the failure to do so might make them vulnerable to human rights complaints. This provided relief to many women in the industry and hopefully our society continues to see changes like these benefitting women in the future as well. At last, women are the real powerhouses!!

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