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Impracticality Straight Out Of The 1950s

, , , , | Working | CREDIT: all_powerful_acorn | December 9, 2020

I am rather new to the IT industry. I have been out of college for about a year and am looking for a more full-time or professional position. I apply for a position at an auction and publishing company. Before I even get the interview lined up, I have to take an hour-long knowledge test and an hour-long programming skills test. After that, I get an in-person interview. I am instructed to arrive an hour early and I had about a two-hour drive to get to the location.

I’m a woman, so I wear nice black pants, a button-up shirt, and a blazer over it, kind of like a relaxed women’s suit. When I finally get into the interview, I am getting strange vibes from the interviewer. We get through some questions, and then she loudly sighs.

Interviewer: “Is this how you usually dress?”

I am visibly shocked because I am dressed professionally.

Me: “What do you mean?

Interviewer: “All women are required to wear dresses, knee-length or a bit longer.”

I laugh, thinking she is joking. She doesn’t react.

Me: “Is that the policy for the sales floor?”

They do a lot of in-person sales, so I could kind of understand this policy for them.

Interviewer: “No. That’s for everyone. If you work here, you must wear a dress every day.”

This is an IT job that includes quite a bit of dirty work, like running wire under raised floors — quite a bit of crawling around.

The interviewer seems offended that I would question this policy.

Interviewer: “To look professional, all women must wear dresses. Pants make women look tall and less feminine.”


I just kind of go along with the rest of the interview and ask the receptionist about it as I am leaving. It isn’t just this interviewer.

Receptionist: “Yes, that is the company policy. We even get lectured if our dresses are too long or too short; they must be around knee-length. And the dresses must be paired with heels. The only exception is if you’re pregnant.”

This was in a midwestern US state, so yes, they had to wear dresses and heels when it was cold and snowy. No exceptions, except for pregnancy.

I was so glad I didn’t get a call back from that place.

In hindsight, I should have raised more of a fuss with the interviewer, but I was young and still had the idea that if I said something wrong, it could ruin my career.

Since then, I’ve gotten a Master’s in cybersecurity and I now have a job that I love. It was so refreshing to go into a field where employers are excited to hire me and treat it as an opportunity for both of us instead of just a “privilege for me to work for them.”

This story is part of our International Women’s Day roundup!

Read the next International Women’s Day roundup story!

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