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Open letter to Clarion's Kate Chambers

Open letter to Clarion's Kate Chambers

posted Feb 13, 2018, 3:36 AM by Steve Donoughue

In an article posted on iGaming Business entitled ' Clarion pledges Action Plan to tackle industry sexism' http://www.igamingbusiness.com/news/clarion-pledges-action-plan-tackle-industry-sexism  posted on the 12th February 2018 it states that Clarion will be canvassing stakeholders views about your plan to eliminate promotional girls from all your gambling events through your Ampersand Think Tank and Research initiative that you say  enables you to communicate directly with the industry. 

As an industry veteran of 25 years who speaks at many conferences and has done for over 20 years, I am unfortunately not one of your chosen Ampersand members so have been forced to write this open letter.

I am categorically against your plan to dictate to the gambling industry what is acceptable behaviour at industry events. We have laws made by Parliament that control  our behaviour not  diktat laid down by unappointed and unaccountable industry suppliers 

In no way am I condoning sexism, exploitation, discrimination and all the other nasties that the world is beset with, but I do not think this is what is happening at ICE or any other show.

What I do think is happening is that a small bunch of privileged women from outside our industry are trying to impose their own political agenda on an industry they dont know and possibly dont like and as a result, hundreds of promotional girls will have food taken from their tables  for no justifiable reason. 

The promotional girls are not exploited, they know fully well what is expected of them and they do their jobs professionally and happily. There has been no reports of harassment or assault and if there was, the law would apply and the perpetrator prosecuted. The promotional girls like the job, keep coming back and most of all value the employment that you begrudge them. They are in most cases employed by female run agencies being commissioned by female run marketing departments. 

I fully understand the argument that using promotional girls is old-fashioned, that may be the case, but it is not up to you regulate it. Much as flares are old  fashioned but we dont ban them however much we might want to. Market forces may make exhibitors try another approach to presenting their business but this is their choice not one to be forced upon them

Not only have what you and Sarah Harrison done is unfairly bring more acrimony upon an already under attack industry but you have ignored the hundreds of women who work in the industry throughout the year, not just at the conferences that pay your wages. Some of us are old enough to remember when there were practically no women working in this industry, the mirror image of what the exhibition industry now just you have very few men and seem not to be so exercised about this lack of diversity. 

We can at least be very proud of the numbers of women we have and safe in the knowledge that more are being attracted to the industry. I have not heard any voices against the promotional girls from women in the industry, all the ones I have talked to do not consider it an issue. yet again this attack on our industry is coming from a small number of privileged outsiders

What is at stake here is your attempt to tell us - your customers - what to do and how we should do our business and that is wrong.

You can dress it up by saying its about respecting women but you seem to have no respect for those you wish to force out of legal employment. 

Once you ban the girls what will you ban next?

Will you lead a campaign against the costumes women competitors wear on Strictly?

I would not be saying this if this was another industry. Skimpily clad girls are out of context at an accountancy exhibition. Not at a gambling exhibition where members of the public are not invited. Gambling has always been an adult form of entertainment with sexual motifs prevalent throughout both time and the breadth of the industry. 

The girls must stay

No one is asking for nudity just the ability to dress as the client wants - which is no more than many girls dress on a Friday night


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