Office Workplace Dress Codes are Sexist to Women

Can “professionalism” be equally enforced?


Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

80% of people who work in an environment with a dress code responded that they don’t find them useful

There is no denying that workplace formalities have declined in recent years. The traditional suit and tie has now transitioned to jeans and sweaters. Through these changing dress codes people find themselves questioning the necessity of dress codes in modern work culture Men are expected to clean up nice for big work events with a button down shirt, dress shoes, a clean appearance. All of those are basic fairly standard requests for an important corporate event.

On the other hand when the same instruction to clean up nice is given to a woman the standards are raised astronomically. Women are expected to have curled or straightened hair, perfectly manicured nails, just the right amount of makeup, completely smooth legs and arms. They must wear heels of the right height, smile the right way, and have no visible flaws.

These biased and unfair standards add up over the years. Over the course of a lifetime a woman will end up paying $101,400 more than a man for comparable products like deodorant. These unrealistic standards are not only perpetuated in modern culture but profited off of. If a woman does not comply correctly to these standards there are usually consequences at work, from simple water cooler gossip to possibly being passed over for advancement opportunities. These sexist standards are still rampant in workplaces around the country.

The easiest solution for all of this is to simply stop policing women’s bodies.  If there must be a dress-code, make it simple and unisex. The majority of the time people have sound enough judgement to determine for themselves what is and is not work appropriate. Continuing to allow superiors to decide how women dress is a perpetuation of unequal treatment, which often goes hand in hand with unequal pay. We as a society should have moved on from these, meeting basic standards and focusing on ensuring that equality is seen in action and not just ideas.