HR Strange But True!
September 29, 2011

Please don’t show this story to Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush, Madeline Albright, or Angela Merkel. These pantsuit-preferring icons won’t want to hear that respondents to a survey chose women wearing skirts as being more successful than those wearing trousers.

The survey of 300 people by the U.K.’s University of Hertfordshire, asked respondents to record their “snap decisions” about women in photos in these employment-related categories: confidence, trustworthiness, success, flexibility, and salary.

Women wearing skirts scored higher, including for making a good first impression and being more likely to be successful than those wearing slacks. The outfits in the pictures were in the same style, fabric, and color; the only variable was skirts or pants. And the models’ faces were blurred to keep results from being skewed.

Respondents were males and females and ranged in age from 14 to 67 years old.

Professor Karen Pine, leader of the research project, told Marie Claire that the results show skirts help women “maintain an identity that balances professionalism with attractiveness, and the skirt suit may achieve that balance without appearing provocative.”

We hope you don’t skirt the issue of apparel-discrimination in your workplace.


Marie Claire

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