Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Ending gender bias in dress codes

During the recent Super Bowl halftime show, Usher took off his shirt and everyone oohed and aahed over his performance. Twenty years ago, Janet Jackson's breast was accidentally exposed during her halftime performance and the world stopped to nearly ruin her career over a wardrobe malfunction.

We need to have a serious conversation about sex-based stereotypes, double standards, and workplace dress code.

Here are 7 tips to draft a non-discriminatory, gender-neutral dress code for your workplace:

1./ Focus on professionalism or safety: Instead of dictating specific clothing items, emphasize the importance of dressing in a professional and appropriate manner for the workplace. For example, "everyone must wear business attire," "any hair that falls more than two inches below the chin must be tied back," or "no loose-fitting clothing."

2./ Avoid gendered language: Use language that is inclusive and does not specify gender. For example, instead of saying "men should wear suits, and women should wear skirts," you can say "employees should wear professional attire such as suits, slacks, blouses, or dresses."

3/ Allow for individual expression: Acknowledge that employees may have different styles and preferences. Encourage them to express their personal style while maintaining professionalism.

4./ Provide examples: Offer examples of acceptable attire to help employees understand what is appropriate. This can include images or descriptions of various clothing options.

5./ Address grooming and hygiene: Include guidelines on grooming and hygiene that apply to all employees, regardless of gender. This can include expectations for cleanliness, neatness, and appropriate grooming practices.

6./ Be open to feedback: Encourage employees to provide feedback on the dress code and be willing to make adjustments as needed to ensure inclusivity.

7./ Train everyone and enforce consistently: Train all employees on what your dress means and how it is to be followed; enforce the dress code consistently across all employees to ensure fairness and prevent any perceptions of bias or discrimination.

By following these guidelines, you can create a gender-neutral dress code that avoids any discrimination malfunction.