Saturday, March 08, 2008

Sexism and Racism - it's the Tesco way of life

Whilst researching today's Daily Mail for another post (I guess you'll see why in a mo) I came across this piece on the horrors of working for Tesco - even when you're near the top.

Julia Reynolds was one of the top people at Tesco. In charge of their clothing lines she spearheaded the £3 jeans which put an unholy squeeze on their competitors (and clothing workers' wages). She has been raking in plenty of dirty cash for her lords and masters. But it seems all was not well near the top - in fact they were pretty vile if you were the top ranking woman in the company (of the 250 board members at Tesco, 40 are women, I wonder if the proportion of men to women in their till staff and cleaners is the same?).

After close to a decade in the Tesco 'family', she had become sick and tired of the macho aggression that appeared to be the price she had to pay for being a successful woman in a male-dominated corporate world.

"I'd just had my fill of chest-beating alpha males," says Julia. "I had some of the most horrendous things said to me and it is only now that I can laugh about them."

Despite her seniority at Tesco, and the fact that she was said to be earmarked for even bigger things at the company, she was subjected to unpleasant jibes that were not said in jest.

She remembers comments such as, "Who the f*** are you to be driving a [nice] car like that?' and 'Who the f*** do you think you are to have a big job like that?"

And the worst thing was that they came from within the company, from a senior Tesco executive, a man she remains too diplomatic – or cautious – to name.

That sort of Neanderthal remark, she says ruefully, is par for the course. "Sexism, racism... it's a way of life, I suppose. It's a matter of survival. "

Ironically I had to search high and low for a picture of Julia Reynolds without a young, slim model in lingerie standing next to her. Who says you can't sex up stories about sexism? God bless the Guardian who were able to provide the above.

As an aside we should be noted that Tesco are trying to get out of paying their fair share of tax by constructing off shore tax havens. I mean with an economy larger than Syria you don't want to start putting your hand in your pocket do you?

1 comment:

a very public sociologist said...

I'm interested to see how Tesco will spin this in the coming days - if they bother at all.

I imagine Julia Reynolds is keeping schtum because she's looking to take her "expertise" elsewhere. No one likes a snitch, especially the creatures that stalk the nation's boardrooms.