Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

They Wanted Fun.They Meant a S**g

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

They Wanted Fun.They Meant a S**g

Article excerpt


THE ABUSE started almost as soon as Marianne Sorensen, an ambitious business school graduate, started her [pounds sterling]50,000a-year job in a London brokerage firm.

She had expected it to be tough. What she hadn't counted on - and she is no shrinking violet - was just how tough it would be.

Every day, Ms Sorensen, 26, was the target of sexist, vicious and unrelenting attacks. "I was told I was a f***ing twat and 'Why the f**k did they hire me in the first place'.

"I was scared of my team, especially my boss.

He said people on the team had complained that if he had to hire a female in the first place, which they weren't happy about, why didn't he hire some young thing that they could go out and have some fun with? They meant to go out and s**g, to add to their list of other s**gs."

Ms Sorensen, who is Danish, accepts there is a very thin line between office humour and outright bullying. She says: "I like a challenge, I'm quite a competitive person, so I thought 'this is something I can have a good stab at and see if I can make a success of it'.

"On the first day I walked in and the first thing that hits me is an overwhelming wave of noise. The second thing that hits me, at 7am, is an incredible wave of male BO and testosterone.

"It's a question of a lot of boys being together in one playground and being able to do what they want without a lot of supervision."

In the end, she had had enough. "I felt trapped. I felt claustrophobic and I thought 'I need to get out here right now if I'm going to survive this'."

The documentary genuinely makes harrowing viewing. Their faces blacked out in many cases, this stream of educated, civilised people describe in faltering tones the day-today struggle to survive in the muscular world of a City trading floor. Women, of course, are a natural target for what one worker describes as a "pack of wolves". …

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