Russian Company Sparks Outrage by Paying Women Employees to Wear Skirts

A Russian aluminum producer is under fire after offering its female employees a cash incentive to wear skirts and dresses to work, the BBC reports.

Tatarstan-based Tatprof made headlines after Zalina Marshenkulova, a journalist and feminist author shared the company’s “femininity marathon” to social media dubbing the campaign “news from the Middle Ages.”

According to a poster from the company, from May 27 to June 30, all female employees who wear a skirt or dress “no longer than five centimeters from the knee” will receive an additional 100 rubles ($2.07) on top of their wage. “Modest makeup” should also be part of the dress code, the poster said.

In order to qualify for the bonus, women are required to send photos of their outfit to their employer.

In an interview with Russian news outlet Govorit Moskva, Tatprof internal communications specialist Anastia Kirillova says that the initiative was meant to “brighten up” the men’s team, and “increase awareness” of women in the company.

“On the one hand, we wanted to brighten up our daily work schedule. We work in a large aluminum extrusion industry,” Kirillova said. “Our team consists of 70 per cent men. Such actions and events help us to switch, exhale. This is a great way to rally a team! Many women wear trousers on the machine, so we hope that our action will increase the awareness of our ladies, allowing them to feel their femininity and charm when they opt for a skirt or dress. It’s summer now, so the marathon came in handy.”

A separate article from Business Online says the campaign will conclude with one female employer being declared the “benchmark” for traditional female beauty and awarded a separate prize.

The campaign has received backlash online, with many calling it “disgusting” and “vile.”

Aside from encouraging women to adhere to a more “feminine” dress code, Tatprof has also scheduled gendered contests for its employees: A dumpling making contest for women, and a pull-up contest for men.