Top CEO alters appearance to gain respect

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The CEO of an award-winning Silicon Valley start-up has admitted altering her appearance in an effort to gain more respect in the workplace.

Eileen Carey, who runs software company Glassbreakers, told the BBC that she stopped wearing high heels, swapped contact lenses for glasses and started wearing gender neutral clothing in a bid to be taken more seriously.

Carey, who founded the firm three years ago, also dyed her natural blonde hair brown after receiving feedback from a fellow professional.

"The first time I dyed my hair was actually due to advice I was given by a woman in venture capital," Carey told the BBC. Apparently, Carey was told that investors would feel more comfortable with a brunette woman pitching to them, rather than a blonde.

While it seems the former Citigroup analyst bowed to discriminatory pressure, she did say her altered appearance had given her greater confidence in the workplace.

“Being a brunette helps me to look a bit older and I needed that, I felt, in order to be taken seriously,” she said.

Sadly, it seems the high-flier isn’t alone in her decision to deliberately alter her appearance in order to gain more respect – in fact, she told the BBC that she had come across several other women who had switched from blonde to brown for the same reason.

“We discussed that there's the fetishisation of blondes. People are more likely to hit on me in a bar if I'm blonde. There's just that issue in general,” she explained.

"For me to be successful in this [tech industry] space, I'd like to draw as little attention as possible, especially in any sort of sexual way.”

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