Sexist experience anyone?

maryportasIt’s the time of year when schools christen students with some work experience by sending them out to organisations to be blooded with genuine toil.

I vividly remember donning a snazzy tie and Hush Puppies and turning up for my fortnight’s work experience at a high street bank. They were great. No floor polishing or coffee making for me: I sorted the personal cheques (remember them?), I printed statements, I opened mail and weighed coins. They even gave me the code for the door so I could get back in from lunch!

But thinking about this also brought back memories of the cheery store manager. He was a large character that would be right at home holding forth in the golf club bar. On day one, I thought he was a nice chap.

Then I saw him grab one of the female teller’s backsides as she walked past him. Between repeating this on several prey and dishing out overly long hugs that had women craning their necks away from his leer, I soon changed my mind.

Sexist rubbish in the workplace has come a long way in twenty odd years but a business forum I recently attended tells me it’s not come far enough.

The opening speaker was littered with innuendo and lewd comments. Granted, there was a sporting slant to the day (Joe Lydon’s coaching talk was excellent) but the title of the event was ‘High Performance Society,’ not ‘Bar Room Tales of Totty.’ Three of the seven seats at my table complained; two left early asking for their money back.

We’ve still got further to go gents. Much further. Even your work experience student can probably point that out to you.

Photo: one of my favourite business women, Mary Portas


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