It’s 2017 and women are still being told what they should look like and what chemicals to use to tame their “unacceptable” natural hair. Recently news broke of a black woman who was seeking a job at the well known high-end store Harrods in London. To get the job she was told she had to chemically straighten her hair.
The incident ofcourse did not end there because the incident was brought up in Parliment. It was noted that “black women are under pressure to remove braids or to use chemical relaxers on their hair to make it look ‘professional’, a Parliamentary committee has heard, as MPs on Wednesday urged the Government to clamp down on sexist workplace dress codes,” reported The Independent:
A report published on Wednesday by two parliamentary committees, for Petitions and for Women and Equalities, also claims that women are still being forced to wear high heels, make-up and revealing clothes by some employers.
The report, which was launched following the experience of Nicola Thorp, a receptionist at PwC, who was sent home without pay for not wearing high heels, concluded that current laws to prevent discrimination are not “fully effective”.
Ms Thorp launched a petition last year that received more than 150,000 signatures and triggered an inquiry by the Women and Equalities Committee.
She told MPs that the discrimination women faced was not purely a feminist issue. In evidence presented to the Petitions and Women and Equalities Committees, she said: “I have worked in retail before, notably at Harrods. They are really quite bad and I ended up leaving as a result of that.
“In fact, in one of the interview sessions that I attended, the woman who held the interview – who was working for the agency, so Harrods might have diminished responsibility – would go around the room and say, ‘You need a makeover, you need a makeover, you’re fine, you need a makeover’.
She pointed to a black girl who was being interviewed and said, ‘You can’t work for me unless you have your hair chemically relaxed, because your hair, as is, is not professional enough.’ We just sat there and nodded and agreed because we needed the job. People did what they were told.”
Harrods denied the claims. “As with many luxury retailers, all Harrods sales staff are subject to a dress code which they sign up to on joining the company.
It asks, in general terms only, that both male and female staff maintain a high standard of personal grooming and has been revised in the past five years to ensure the comfort of our staff while seeking to maintain the standards we expect from those representing our famous store,” a spokesperson for Harrods told The Independent.
I see we still have a ton of work to do!