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Tyee Poll: Have You Seen or Experienced Sexism in the Restaurant Industry?

Did you know that nearly 80 per cent of all food and beverage servers in Canada are women?

As Rachel Sanders reports for The Tyee, it is not uncommon for servers to feel pressure to appear attractive or act a certain way at work in order to make enough money in tips to earn something resembling a living wage. As one server told The Tyee, “On the days when you really make an effort with your makeup and you make your eyebrows look great, you see that reflected in your tips.”

Some women reported that this pressure to yield to customer or management expectations in pursuit of tips — particularly as they often make minimum wage or less — left them with little power in the workplace.

One woman, who felt intimidated by the attention of a man staff referred to as “Googly Eyes” told the Tyee that when she reported her discomfort to her boss, she was met with deaf ears. “You knew what you were going to have to wear and the attention you were going to get,” she remembers her boss saying. “You signed up for that. That’s your problem.”

The Tyee found a number of suggestions to improve working conditions for female servers, including increasing the minimum wage, strengthening unions or even eliminating tipping, but so far few of these have gained traction.

Sadly, form-fitting outfits, inappropriate touching, and unwelcome comments still seem the norm for some female servers looking to make a living wage.

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Please note that Tyee Barometer polls are only intended as a quick and engaging non-scientific snapshot of our readers' opinions on various topics that fit with The Tyee's very broad editorial mandate. They are not intended to be seen as a representative sampling of BC opinion.

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