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“Looking for good-looking girls up to 25 years old …”

 

What is the hidden message for this kind of announcements? What do the employees require… or what kind of services do they expect the employees fulfill? This question is of interest to many people. Therefore, the interviewees of Womennet attempted to share their experiences.

 

 

Wearing short skirt and standing all day at work…

 

 Karine M. is a 20 years old girl who has already changed several jobs despite her young age. The rationale behind these shifts is not the lack of eligibility to the job requirements. She is both good looking and educated: these are the main requirements usually mentioned by the employers. Being a good looking girl is the factor helping her to find jobs easily. At the same time it is the reason behind changing the jobs this often.

 

“I was at my second year in the university when I decided to find a job for the first time. The best option was the dress shop in our district. I would not have to pay for transportation as the shop was close to the house. So, I would be able to save money to pay the tuition fees, – Karine told WomenNet. However, she failed to act according to her plan as the reality was not concurrent to the induction of the employers done initially.

 

The number of such kind of dress shops where the Labor Code is extensively violating is increasing. Firstly, the working conditions are not designed according to the Labor Code of RA. For instance, in case of Karine the working day started at 10.00 and finished when the last customer was leaving the shop. According to the law the work should finish at 20.00, however, she usually stayed longer.

 

“The girl who used to work before I came was fired as she warned the customers that they should leave the store because it was going to be closed. The employers were using this example as lessons learned for other employees, so it was prohibited to finish the job on time even if you had some appointments”, said Karine.

 

 

There was a case when she finished the work at 22.30. Nevertheless, neither she nor other employees have ever got compensation for working over time. Moreover, during the days of the accountings they were staying till 1-2 am.

 

 

Aside from all of these breaches, neither of them was officially registered. So, they were warned to be introduced as the relatives of the cashier if some people entered the shop and started asking suspicious questions. It is obvious that the cashier was the only one with official registration in the shop.

 

However, the above mentioned factors were not the reasons behind Karine’s decision to leave the job. That list may be added with the issue that the employees were allowed to sit only for thirty minutes of break during the working hours which usually covered more time  span than from 10.00-20.00.

 

 

Even that difficulty was not the very cause for Karine to leave the job. “One of the preconditions to be considered for the job was the requirement to wear intensive make up and short skirt. I used to wear short skirts and feel pretty conformable before. However it was not the same in the shop during the work. The shopkeeper was starring at my legs all the time. He was drinking coffee, smoking and not blinking eyes for hours. As it was hot, I was wearing lighter blouses. So he was gazing at me all the time. One day I could not stand it more. I informed that I was leaving the job, – Karine mentioned the main reason why he left the job.

 

 

The situation at the work place was not culminated to sexual harassment, however, she could not say if such kind of things had happened to other girls. At the same time she was sure if she continued her work there, the harassment would be inevitable: Karine worked there for one and half month and she swore  the  she would never have such a job again.

 

 

Where to work if you have a nine-month old son?

 

Anna is a 33 years old woman. She is divorced with raising her 7 years old baby all alone. She lived with her husband for two years and divorced when her baby was nine-month old.  The reason behind the divorce was other woman in her husband’s life. As the love relation of her husband was revealed, he started to beat Anna  instead of simple apology. “He was beating me every day. My parents in law were not even intervening and helping me and my son… so I left them ”,-told Anna

 

Anna’s parents lived abroad. Therefore they suggested her to join them. However, her ex husband refused to provide corresponding permission, so Anna would be able to take her son with her. However, when the procedures of the divorce were finished, her mother passed away. Therefore, Anna decided to stay in the country and care about her son alone.

 

 

When her maternity leave ended, she realized the need to change her work: “I was working at one of the intuition attached to the Ministry of Health. When I was married I did not take attention on the amount of my salary. It was small, however, my husband had a good job and my mother helped me from abroad. However, the reality changed in several months. I was wondering what to do and how to afford my living and care about my son. Thanks to God, I did not have to pay for house rent, as I lived at my parent’s house”, -said Anna.

 

 

After graduating the university, her first job was at the Travel agency. However, she had to leave the job after two months as the salary was low though the work was interesting. In line with that the job required trips and trainings which she could not afford when having a little baby.

 

 

“Then I started to work as a cashier in the supermarket. The working hours were very comfortable as I was working with shifts. So, I was able to manage my time effectively. However, I had to leave that job as well, as the job of the cashier was not a permanent one. I was offered to work as a seller which was a hard job for me: it demands standing all the time, communicating with the customers. It is much more complicated if your baby had not slept the night before”.

 

Eventually, she appeared in the night club as a waitress. “My neighbor’s husband was a janitor. So, she agreed to take care of my baby during the nights when her husband was not at home. Surely, it was a paid service by my side. That work was the best option with high salary, however, there were many problems behind that “good” salary, -and Anna shared her experience.

 

 

“The head of the club was an actuate of my classmate, so I did not get the harassment from his side. However, when getting aware that I am a waitress, the customers, waiters, even the suppliers were considering their duty to make intimate offers to me. Moreover, if before people were trying to suggest some ice breaking events, like going to cinema or drinking  coffee, here the suggestions were quite direct. In one sentence, I saw everything.”

 

 

Anna refused to elaborate on her forehead scar. She just showed  it and mentioned that it was a result of her refusal to one of those intimate offers by a drunk customer who pushed Anna in the corridor and she damaged her head.

 

“The bad thing about this story is that we are forced to keep silence about such cases. Most of the clubs are operating illegally and are providing other services as well, so they prefer to stay unseen. So, one should either continue tolerating lots of things or to apply to police for justice. However after that, the doors to those kind of places will be close for you. Yerevan is too small to be hired again as a waitress in other places having such an experience.

 

 Neither good-looking nor tall: this case may also happen

 

Our observation revealed that there are other organizations in the Armenian labor market which do not seek to have good-looking girls with makeup and skirts to attract the customers.

 

 

One of the supermarket chains operating in Yerevan and in some regions of Armenia have different management criterion. They also require young girls to work as cashiers and sellers, however, the physical appearance of those girls is not relevant to the job. They have a reverse requirement claiming “the more moderate the better.”

 

“We do not seek to attract our customers through how our employees look like. Our supervisors’ requirements are that the cashiers and sellers should not “disturb” the customers with their look from their duty. So, the makeup and hairdressing is not must. When considering for the job, we gave priority to the students at their 2-3 years who are not skilled in wearing make ups,- said one of the managers of the stores of the chain.

 

 

However, we cannot but mention that the “moderate face” of girls suppose that those girls will not  remind their supervisors  about working hours and labor rights.

 

LIa Khojoyan

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