A disturbing report from CBC's Marketplace revealed a double standard in Canada's restaurant industry — the dress code for female staff is often downright sexist. The findings included women who were forced to wear high heels, tight skirts and lots of makeup. One woman said that she was forced to show more skin, and another woman said that she was told not to wear any underwear.
The shocking report convinced the male staff at Union Local 613, an Ottawa restaurant, to take a stand. They showed their solitary for female restaurant workers by dressing themselves with the same absurd standards on Wednesday night.
"If this is what women have to deal with in days or weeks or years of working in restaurants, or wherever they're working, then I can't even really imagine that, actually. It's kind of tough," said busser and server James Tilden to CBC.
It was an uncomfortable Wednesday night for these male workers, but to them, it was worth it to demonstrate the ridiculousness of the dress codes affecting their female counterparts.
On Tuesday's International Women's Day, the Ontario Human Rights Commission issued a policy paper on gender-specific dress codes and called for an end to clothing requirements that discriminate against female and transgender workers. Many businesses, like Local Union 613, are taking a stand to get their fellow restaurateurs to end these sexist practices.
"It reinforces how ridiculous it is," Jennifer Hatchard, a former waitress who was shamed for not wearing enough jewelry, told CBC while at Local Union 613 on Wednesday. "Seeing men walk by in tight miniskirts and heels really just hits it home how crazy it is to ask women to do that."
The guys at Local Union 613 only lasted a few hours in high heels on Wednesday, but the lessons that they learned about treating women with respect will certainly last a lifetime.