Seksisme op de werkvloer is nog volop aanwezig

NEW YORK – Lijden vrouwen nog steeds onder een dubbele moraal op de werkvloer als het om hun uiterlijk gaat? Of zijn we eindelijk voorbij het subtiele (en soms niet zo heel subtiele) seksisme bij het in dienst nemen en bevorderen van vrouwen, dat ik in 1991 al “de professionele schoonheidsquotiënt” heb genoemd?

Het is moeilijk te geloven dat we het hier twintig jaar later nog steeds over moeten hebben, maar dat is wel aan de orde. Als anti-feministen betogen dat er nu een “gelijk speelveld” voor vrouwen bestaat, en dat alle mogelijk verschillen tussen de seksen op het gebied van prestaties en beloningen louter de eigen keuzen van vrouwen weerspiegelen, moeten ze maar eens kijken naar wat vroeger “lookism” werd genoemd.

In een recent commentaar heef socioloog Michael Kimmel een zaak in Iowa beschreven, waarbij de 33-jarige tandtechnicus Melissa Nelson door haar mannelijke baas was ontslagen, niet omdat ze haar werk niet goed zou doen, maar omdat hij haar seksueel te aantrekkelijk vond om mee te werken, bang als hij was dat hij zijn huwelijkstrouw zou schenden. Toen Nelson hem voor het gerecht daagde, kwam de rechtbank met een weerzinwekkend vonnis – overeind gehouden door het Hooggerechtshof van Iowa – waarin zijn recht werd bevestigd om haar om deze reden te ontslaan.

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