‘Topless Waitress Party’ Strips Gender Equality

topless waitress party geocon

Many tradeswomen and MP’s have been riled up over the recent topless waitress party put on by Geocon at one of their works sites in Canberra.

The completion of the residential tower in Belconnen prompted Geocon to put on a party for their workers. The worksite closed from 3pm and the workers were entertained with women clad in g-strings and very little attire.

Geoncon apologized for the inappropriate entertainment, but not before MP’s tweeted their shock over the surfacing of images from the party.

I’m not surprised by the goings on of the party, but I am disappointed that despite the work done by many women currently working in the trades and beyond, their recommendations have fallen on death ears. A company that organizes adult entertainment at their work party is not a ‘progressive company’ and they do not offer an ‘equitable work environment’.

I get that there is a culture of men who enjoy adult entertainment. I will never judge what an individual chooses to do in their personal life, but it must be done at the individual’s discretion and NOT on a worksite. How many of those workers felt comfortable being served by women in g-strings? What would their girlfriends and wives have thought to know their tradie partners were attending a work party with nearly naked women present?

When I went to TAFE, all the boys from my class would hotfoot down to the Pinkenba Hotel for lunch and a view of the topless waitresses. It didn’t matter if these apprentices were married or had girlfriends. It was the culture and done thing when attending TAFE at Eagle Farm. I was invited on many occasions to join the boys, but it wasn’t my scene.

I know we have come a long way with women being more accepted on the worksite, but when we see old practices rear their head like this recent Geocon debacle, we’re reminded there is still a long way to go. Offering an equitable work environment is not just accepting a woman on a worksite. It’s also about setting a culture that doesn’t glorify women in a sexual way. Women matter. Who they are and what they do should be valued and their bodies and sexuality should never come into the equation.

The head manager of Geocon is said to be talking with Australian of the Year David Morrison on how to ‘overhaul workplace culture’.

The answer is quite simple. Remove the managers that thought it was a good idea to hire the female entertainers. That’s the standard that should be set. Old thinking needs to come face-to-face with dire consequences. Standards are set from the top and if you want to change a culture of a company, it starts with the leaders. Old thinking is like cancer. The best way to tackle it is to remove it altogether.

When I met David Morrison at the Migas Awards, he asked me if I would encourage my girls to work in the trades.

I hesitated because I don’t think I’d want my girls to go through what I did.

But a lot has changed since I did my apprenticeship and the worksites are becoming more gender equitable.

The benefits of women and men working together in the construction industry make for a better future for our community and our country.

Now that Geocon are in the industry spotlight, let’s see how they can positively change this around and teach all male dominant companies and industries the social importance of removing a sexualized view of women from the work culture.

Women aren’t objects to be glorified. We all have a responsibility to create a better workplace for all and inviting topless waitresses to a worksite party is definitely a step in the wrong direction.

What more can be done to change this ‘culture’ within male dominant industries? What was your response when this story surfaced?