Sexism | Outrage at HSBC as women offered vacuum cleaners in staff deal

Outrage at HSBC as women offered vacuum cleaners in staff deal

HSBC has come under fire from employees in London and Hong Kong after staff were sent emails with controversially sexist deals.

Reuters reports that Hong Kong staff were presented with deals offering laptop computers, GoPro cameras and wireless headphones ‘for him’ – while the ‘for her’ alternative offered five different vacuum cleaners and kitchen appliances.

This implies that men are more likely to enjoy technology and fun toys for their hobbies – while women are expected to be the ones carrying out household chores.

Recipients shared screenshots of the email in an internal chatroom, sparking outrage from global members of HSBC’s workforce.

“The offer is from a third-party source that manages its own marketing materials,” a Spokeswoman for the bank told Reuters. “HSBC is committed to gender diversity in the workplace.”

Sarah Kaiser, Employee Experience, Diversity and Inclusion Lead for Fujitsu EMEIA, previously told HR Grapevine that more needs to be done to ensure that gender equality becomes a workplace norm. She said:

“Whilst great strides have been made, there’s still an ocean of gender inequality left for us to conquer. 

“Women need to be properly retained and included with an organisation, and the introduction of women’s networks, for instance, can be vital in ensuring women receive the proper support and advice they need.”

Reuters adds that HSBC reported in December that its gender pay gap, which measures the difference between the average hourly salary of men and women, grew to 61% in the year to April 2018 – from 59% a year earlier. The bank - which employs more than 40,000 people in Britain - had the widest gender pay gap of any large British company in 2017.

Research from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has found a large pay gap may influence where women want to work – with 61% of women reporting it as a consideration when job hunting.

Speaking at Acas’ Future of Work Conference, EHRC’s Chair David Isaac CBE said that, “the message to all employers from your existing and prospective female staff is very clear from the results.

"They want action and if they don’t see a change, there is a very real risk that they won’t join you or, most importantly, stay with you. It will also affect their commitment to you.”

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