Ruth Langsford | TV host recalls workplace sexism in early career

TV host recalls workplace sexism in early career

TV show host Ruth Langsford recently opened up about her experience of workplace sexism when she started out in her career in regional TV – Hello Magazine reported.

Speaking about her career on Kate Thornton’s White Wine Question Time podcast, Langsford – who currently presents TV show This Morning with her husband Eamonn Holmes – recalled an incident where a male co-worker tried to grab her behind.

She recalled: "I remember years ago before I was on TV, when I was a transmission assistant, we had to take these big trays of tea around at the evenings for the VT and telecine engineers... it was all men.

"We had a little kitchenette and for some reason it was deemed to be my job (as a) woman.

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"I remember taking this tray round and a guy pinched my a***, and I literally put the tray down, I slapped his tea down, and said: 'If you ever touch me again, I'll break your [explicit] arm' and I marched out... It just came out."

At the time, she said she was concerned about losing her job or being reprimanded for standing up for herself.

Sexism in the workplace

Lexico describes sexism as prejudice, stereotyping or discrimination, commonly against women, on the basis of sex.

Sadly, a plethora of research has pointed towards the prevalence of workplace sexism.

For example, 2015 research from Peninsula found that more than three-quarters of women have been the victim of sexist jokes at work.

Elsewhere, the study found that more than half of men (63%) felt uncomfortable when female co-workers made unwanted remarks about their physical appearance.

Despite a large portion of employees not working from a physical office in light of the pandemic, research has suggested that sexism is still ‘rife’ while employees are working from home.

Sexism ‘rife’ while women work from home

In fact, research from employment law firm Slater and Gordon found that one in three women have been asked to look nicer and wear makeup during work calls.

The 2,000-people strong survey found that more than one in three women stated that they had experienced sexist comments and remarks from senior managers since the first lockdown period began.

Metro reported that some were asked to look more presentable as this would help with ‘winning business’ and that it is important to ‘look nicer for the team’.

While employees are working from home and inappropriate or unlawful behaviour is less visible, it can be difficult for HR to spot.

In a previous interview with HR Grapevine, Anita Rai, Partner at the law firm JMW Solicitors, explained that discriminatory behaviours and tendencies are still rife while women work from home.

“We know that sexism within some workplaces does still exist and it is disappointing that this has found its way into the sanctuary of women’s homes as well.

“It goes without saying that any comment which references or implies that anyone should dress “sexier” (regardless of whether it is to attract new business or look nicer for the team or to please clients) is unlawful and discriminatory, and if an employer is alerted to such remarks being made, it should immediately take action to stop it,” she concluded.

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Comments (2)

  • Sir
    Wed, 11 Nov 2020 1:38pm GMT
    Why stop at Ruth Langford in what sounds like the 70s ? - even further back there was a really nice woman who suffered terrible sexism..... Anne something..... ah, that's it...... Anne Boleyn. Such an unjust end.
    Maybe you could do an article on her awful treatment on another slow news day.
  • Sir
    Wed, 11 Nov 2020 1:33pm GMT
    What Lockdown has thrown into sharp relief is that what people wear simply doesn't matter.
    The myth that there should be "business wear" because otherwise people feel too casual about their work is exposed by the fact that most of us have discovered that we are all just as efficient WFH in whatever we choose for that day - be that casual, or PJs or our favourite onesie.
    For there to be any expectation that employees look like 'this' or dress like 'that' - whether they be male or female - is frankly bizarre. I prefer my anaesthetist or my accountant to know what they're doing rather than look nice in a tie or a dress, or anything else.

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