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‘Do they have a bollocks and beer one?’: London law firm under fire for offering female lawyers manicures and fizz at conference

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31

It’s since been cancelled

An email fired off by property law firm Devonshires offering its lawyers “a manicure with a glass of fizz” at an upcoming housing conference has been met with scorn on social media. Donna McCarthy, a Devonshires partner, has now responded to the furore, saying the event was organised by the firm’s female partners and in response to client feedback. It has now been cancelled.

The email in question was an invite to “an afternoon of beauty, business networking and relaxation”, courtesy of a Beauty, Bubbles and Business event to be hosted in Liverpool on 14 March.

One email recipient, Barbara Spicer CBE, couldn’t contain her rage over what she described as a “galling” and “disappointing” email. She replied asking what blokes would be offered at the conference: “penis grooming along with a good pint of real ale to remind them of how masculine they are?”

The housing federation referenced in the email has said it has no involvement in this.

Having tweeted the Devonshires email and her reply, Spicer’s message has garnered hundreds of likes and retweets, as well as plenty of debate about sexism below the line. One tweeter said:

Another said he “cringed so hard my eyelashes retracted and poked me in the eyeballs”, while a further tweeter added: “I have 2 daughters. I despair of how much ‘pretty’ and ‘pink’ is shoved at them every day.”

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In response, McCarthy, who advises on housing management law and practice at the London-based firm, has released a statement in which she said that the event was intended to give networking opportunities to senior women in the social housing sector. She continued:

“This event was put together as part of a package of events organised by the female partners of Devonshires who run Devonshires’ Women in Housing (DWIH), and in response to client feedback. We have run the event on several previous occasions and it has always been warmly received and well attended.”

Having now received negative feedback on the event for the first time, the event has been cancelled. “[H]indsight is a wonderful thing”, McCarthy said, and: “The last thing we intended was to promote negative stereotypes. This was an event for women led by women and hands up — we got it wrong.”

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31 Comments

Ex-4chaner.

>literally one person complains about this on social media
>FIRM UNDER FIRE

Just shut up, Katie.

(158)(8)

Anonymous

Bit more than one. Any reason why your comment is so unpleasant?

(7)(69)

Corbyn. Symphathiser

The ‘incels’ in the far-right internet community who like to frequent this page are upset and confused by their own inadequacy, and sublimate it into hatred of women and minorities. It’s really rather simple – as are they.

(29)(26)

Anonymous

I don’t see anything wrong with the event.

Also, there was no need to publish the emails. A simple rejection and email reply would have sufficed.

(68)(0)

Anonymous

If they did have such an event only for men in a certain industry, I’m sure the SJWs, feminists and other professional complainers on Twitter would cry outrage and fling the ‘patriarchy’ word around. Between this and the continued disparity in publicity/celebration of International Women’s Day compared to International Men’s Day, it’s a wonder that they haven’t campaigned for a law to ban the male gender

(61)(16)

Corbyn. Sympathiser

Sod off. Just sod off.

(7)(59)

Anonymous

Speak of the devil…

(9)(0)

Corbyn. Sympathiser

Sorry, I have no control over my many admirers.

(0)(13)

Anonymous

It amuses me that Barbara Spicer has got bleached platinum blonde hair in her Twitter picture and strong red lipstick. She is playing to the tedious gallery and she looks like a hypocrite to me. I’ll bet she has had a manicure before, judging by her photo.

(48)(8)

Anonymous

Feel a bit sorry for Devonshires. There is nothing particularly wrong with their event.

The real sexism is the implied suggestion that women who choose to get manicures do so only because of the patriarchy rather than simply because they like manicures and want to get one. Such an attitude denies women their own agency and preference. There is nothing wrong with wanting to look good if that is what makes you feel confident and powerful.

(102)(2)

Jeremy

Cock and Cointreau for me please

(14)(1)

Trumpenkrieg

The Junior Anti-Sex League strikes again.

(8)(1)

Corbyn. Sympathiser

Don’t worry your mum’s job is safe.

(3)(9)

Trumpenkrieg

Shut up, you geek.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

This all seems a bit silly

(22)(0)

Anonymous

The real gem is the spelling of Barbora’s name in the email to her… “Barbra” that’s probably the reason she’s having her epic meltdown!!!

(14)(0)

Anonymous

Oh barbruh … When will she learn

(25)(0)

A woman

This is bonkers! I’d have totally enjoyed this!

(9)(0)

Anonymous

I don’t see why women should be punished and something fun just for them for a change withheld just because of the sickening outpouring of virtue signalling that was IWD this year. Honestly, looking at all the firms and men on my LinkedIn feed I might have been labouring under the misapprehension that as a professional woman I am actually in a more advantageous position than men, despite the snide bullying from male partners most of us undergo in the legal profession.

(13)(0)

Anonymous

The event was hosted and run by women for women.
I don’t see any males complain because they are not allowed in.
Life in the legel sector is stressfully enough for us all.
So if my female colleagues get a event just for them to get pamper then why not.
If you get invited but don’t want to go because it’s not your type of thing then don’t go.
But complaining, moaning and stoping other people from having a day out by getting the event cancelled then that’s just nonsense.
Travelling into any city centre to earn a living in this day and age is stressful enough and a day out to unwind is a lovely gesture by Devonshires.
I can understand why the event was cancelled this year but come on Devonshires bring it back next year.
And the few that have chosen to take offence at the invite then it’s plan and simple next year don’t invite them.
Keep up the good work Devonshire ladies.

(53)(0)

Anon

Housing association in sexism storm as CEO compares manicures to PENIS grooming!

(9)(0)

Anonymous

Nicked from rollonfriday, no credit given. Guess it just gets embarrassing. well done

(5)(1)

Anonymous

ROF sucks lol

(0)(0)

Magic Circle Employees Wouldn’t Complain

This is SO stupid! No wonder firms avoid doing nice things for people. This is an example of why a lot of people still don’t take feminism and gender seriously. Idiots making idiotic arguments for idiotic attention-seeking reasons. They weren’t strapping you down to a chair and forcing you to have a manicure! They just offered it as a gesture of good will. It was OPTIONAL. These fools just deprived other women of their FREEDOM of CHOICE to attend the event and take advantage of it!

(28)(0)

Anonymous

Women have much to complain about in the way law is practised, just as they have much to complain about in the way society treats them generally. But I genuinely don’t understand the objection to Devonshire’s offer.

It’s a free manicure. So what? Are manicures bad things?

The answer to Ms Spicer’s question about the male equivalent is that it would probably be an event with drinks and some lame diversion like video gaming or a golf simulator. Because men are usually less social and more childish than women.

(6)(4)

Anonymous

This irritates me. There are so many networking events that are implicitly male orientated — football, cricket and rugby games spring to mind (particularly when the networkers are playing not watching). What’s wrong with one that is implicitly female oriented? Lots of women DO like getting their nails done, nothing wrong with that, and why not have an event incorporating it? No one is forcing all women to go, no one is preventing men from going for that matter.

Acting like women who like stuff that lots of women like are shallow is not feminist. Amazingly enough, you can have manicured nails be clever, ambitious and successful.

(9)(0)

Anonymous

I’m a woman in practice and there are many networking events which are aimed at men over women and no one complains. Golf days, snooker evenings etc. Once I asked if I could go to the snooker evening and someone said that it’s one for the men and I wasn’t offended. In the same way that men wouldn’t be offended if women were invited for a bit of pampering! Upsetting that this kind of event has been cancelled. I can’t imagine that a simulated golf evening would be cancelled if a man complained about it on social media, they would simply have been laughed at!

(14)(0)

Anonymous

I want to hear more about Barbara Spicer’s penis grooming idea!

(6)(0)

Anonymous

why is everyone assuming this was aimed at women? Men often have manicures and drinking champagne and prosecco is surely a gender neutral activity?

(2)(1)

Anonymous

The only things Devonshires got wrong here is apologising and cancelling the event.

(4)(1)

Anonymous

Putting aside the sexism claiming the event was in conjunction with the National Housing Frderation when it wasn’t is false advertising. Not great from a law firm.

(0)(1)

Comments are closed.

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