Marie Buchan, disparagingly known in the tabloid press as ‘octomum’ and ‘welfare queen’, has claimed she is too beautiful to get a job in her desired industry (mechanics) – The Sun reports.
She told the Daily Star that she had been approached by potential employers, but “as you talk to them more and more you see what they’re after.”
She continued: “They’ll say things like: ‘What do you do when the kids aren’t around, would you fancy going for a drink, would there be anything else you’d like to do in the garage other than work on cars?’
“They’re not really after me working there, they’re looking for something more. I think they’re just dirty big perverts. You’ve got women in the police force, in the army, we have the skills, it’s just that men see us as sex symbols.”
Buchan echoes the endeavours of Jessica Williams, Managing Director of Sidekicks London, who is on a mission to rid the recruitment industry of discrimination.
Williams recalls the sexism she faced in her pre-recruitment days: “A recruiter once advised me to take off my engagement ring for an interview in case the sight of it ‘set off alarm bells’. I was explicitly asked in [an] interview by a potential employer [whether] I wanted to have children and when I was thinking of having them. Although replying in the negative, I was quickly reminded that I was approaching 30 and so might change my mind ‘within a year or two’. Unsurprisingly I didn’t get that job’.”
Buchan said she wanted to get work experience and learn from fellow female professionals, but they are thin on the ground. “I’m trying so hard,” she explained. “If someone would just give me the opportunity, I would prove them wrong. I know exactly what I’m doing.
“I’m sick of driving into a garage where most mechanics seem to think: ‘We can rip her off, she’s a woman’.
“It’s always been my dream and women are always getting ripped off – I want to put a stop to that.”
HR Grapevine previously reported on the similar experiences of Holli Brooks, who works in maintenance. She told The Guardian that the trade industry hasn’t really moved on since the 1950s: “Change simply isn’t going to happen without more women coming into the industry. It isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.”
Initiatives such as name-blind job applications, unconscious bias training and gender-neutral job adverts all hope to quash these attitudes, but only time will tell if they’re working…