A Third of Women Warned for Work Appearance Deemed a 'Distraction' to Male Colleagues

Far more women than men have been singled out for their appearance. (Photo: Pexels)

Just when we thought that maternity rights and bizarre dress codes were enough for women to be dealing with at work comes this nugget of news: One third of women who have been taken aside by management for their appearance have been deemed a “distraction” to their male colleagues.

Yep, according to new research, one in four women has been cautioned about what she’s wearing at work — compared to just one in nine men.

The study, by VoucherCodesPro, involved asking 2,384 British full-time employees — an equal number of men and women — about money and their appearance.

Man and woman
Double standards? (Photo: Pexels)

A third of female respondents who said they’d gotten called out for their appearance were given a list of possible reasons, told to tick off any that applied.

The top possible reason, cited by almost half the group (46 percent), was for wearing too much makeup.

Next was wearing a too-short skirt (35 percent) followed by a too-revealing top (30 percent) and wearing a slogan top (18 percent).

And the last was for simply wearing something “a bit OTT or flamboyant” (15 percent).

Friends at work
It can feel impossible to get it right as a woman in the workplace [Photo: Pexels]

But most importantly, women surveyed said that these skirts and tops were seen in such a negative light not because of health and safety, for example, but because they were considered “distracting” for their male counterparts.

More than half of men who were called out for their appearance, meanwhile, were criticized for not being neatly shaven (56 percent).

Other offenses included wearing incorrect footwear such as trainers instead of shoes (34 percent), wearing shorts instead of trousers (32 percent), appearing too “flamboyant” (19 percent) or wearing a slogan top (12 percent).

When asked how they felt after being taken aside, 33 percent of women said they felt embarrassed, 30 percent angry, and 25 percent singled out — yet 72 percent of men said they simply “shrugged it off.”

Man in trousers
Men are taken aside for wearing shorts instead of trousers [Photo: Pexels]

And despite their initial reactions, 73 percent of women criticized adjusted their appearance after the warning, while just 44 percent of men did the same.

It’s hardly surprising so many women felt angry after this experience, as when it comes to how we present ourselves, women are damned if we do and damned we don’t.

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