Women not rely on a low-cut top in office
Updated: 2006-02-20 09:05
It's a tired old chestnut but some men seem never to weary of it. Women
succeed in business by flirting, dressing provocatively and employing other dark
satanic means. Brains, talent and personality? What a quaint idea.
Sir Alan Sugar, the chief executive of Amstrad and now a television
personality thanks to his programme The Apprentice, was rounded on yesterday by
a series of businesswomen after digging up the old chestnut and roasting it on a
hot stove. He is furious with the tactics employed by female contestants on the
series, in which seven men and seven women compete for a ￡100,000-a-year job
with Sir Alan.
In Sir Alan's world, flirting would be forbidden
In the first episode, to be shown this week, the all-female team is given the
task of buying groceries at the lowest price. They flirt with wholesalers, wear
low-cut tops and offer kisses and massages.
In Sir Alan's world, flirting would be forbidden, dress would be modest and
"I don't think it is a fair game," Sir Alan said yesterday. "If women want to
be seriously accepted in business, they can't go through life doing that.
"They have to put their head on the pillow at night and think: "Did I get
that business fair and square, in a business-like fashion?"
He added: "I got a bit wound up and annoyed by what they had done. Using
their sexuality towards the vendor annoyed me. I sent them out to do something
and they used a bit of female. . . and all that stuff."
His comments were greeted with laughter by Angela Knight, a former
Conservative Treasury minister and now the chief executive of the Association of
Private Client Investment Managers and Stockbrokers. "How silly and how funny,"
she said. "Is he saying that women are only successful in business because they
happen to wear skirts instead of trousers? That is a very yesterday view."
Deirdre Walker, the London managing partner at the City law firm Norton Rose,
said: "Mr Sugar is in a different world. What these women did is not my style
but to say we should disassociate ourselves from who we are is just nonsense."
Karen Jones, the entrepreneur behind Café Rouge, said: "The majority of
people in business, whether male or female, like a good, straight honest
"If women deliberately go out to flirt, then that is a shame and slightly
retrograde. I have never seen it and it certainly isn't my style."
Sir Alan added: "I have no problems with working mums or women in business.
Some of the best employees I have had have been women."