by Laura Kane
Originally published: March 19, 2017
Servers clad in short skirts and stilettos could soon be a thing of the past, as British Columbia and Ontario take steps to ditch sexualized dress codes. But women in other industries can face unwritten expectations of lipstick and heels, say workplace equality experts.
Researchers and human rights lawyers say a broader discussion is needed of the pressures faced by women to spend more time and money on their looks than men. Gender stereotypes can permeate all kinds of workplaces, including when it comes to physical appearance, they say.
"Women can be judged more harshly due to these pervasive stereotypes," said Julie Nugent, vice-president and centre leader at the Catalyst Research Centre for Corporate Practice, part of a multinational non-profit organization. "When you think about dress and physical appearance, women face higher standards in a lot of cases than men."