End Sexist Volunteer Dress Code

Festival of Trees

Target: Chairwoman of Festival of Trees Committee Marie Partridge

Goal: Put an end to the sexist policy that requires female volunteers to wear dresses at the Primary Children’s Hospital

It recently came to light that a female volunteer was turned away from a charity event for a children’s hospital because she was wearing a pantsuit rather than a dress. Even though the young woman was perfectly ready to work to help the Primary Children’s Hospital raise money to take care of sick children, she was told that she was not allowed to help unless she changed into a dress.

According to the volunteer, Ellie Kaiser, she wore the pantsuit specifically because she thought it would look professional and was shocked to be turned away. Marie Partridge, chairwoman of the committee for the traditional charity event Festival of Trees, says that Kaiser was refused entry because the organization is “very strict in the way we want Primary Children’s Hospital represented.” Apparently, they want to represent themselves as 1950’s era sexists.

This is an unacceptable policy in the year 2014. There is absolutely no real reason to force female volunteers to wear dresses when all they are trying to do is help sick children. By signing this petition, you’ll demand that this policy be rescinded and all women be allowed to volunteer no matter what they choose to wear over their legs. Ancient sexism like this only spread attitudes that have maintained a 23 cent pay gap for decades in this country.


Dear Chairwoman Partridge,

I understand that you recently refused to let a young woman help out at a charity event for the Salt Lake City Primary Children’s Hospital because she was wearing a pantsuit. Apparently, you require all female volunteers in this hospital to wear dresses, and so you decided to have one less volunteer helping to raise money for sick children.

I cannot understand how you could possibly think it was appropriate to stop Ellie Kaiser from helping out for the sake of a completely outdated dress code. This kind of sexism has no place in modern society, and certainly should never be a requirement for young people who want to take part in helping their community. Forcing women and girls to wear dresses only serves to separate them from men and promote attitudes that cause people to treat them differently. This includes discouraging them from certain professions and paying them less for the same work.

I’m writing to demand that you immediately put an end to this clearly sexist dress code. All you’re doing is contributing to our society’s misogyny problem, which hinders women from accomplishing everything they could if they were only treated in the same way that men are treated. Young women like Ellie should be praised for their hard work and caring attitudes, not punished for what type of professional outfit they decide to wear. Join us in the 21st century and stop discriminating against women.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: GoToVan via Flickr

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  1. Tamara Heikalo says:

    What century are we in, please?

  2. Barbara Murphy-Bridge says:

    I must say I was flabbergasted with the response to a pantsuit; I thought she had shown up in jeans or something. Good grief, Ms. Kaiser, this is 2014 not 1914 !!

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