Page last updated at 08:43 GMT, Tuesday, 1 April 2008 09:43 UK

City 'strip club culture is rife'

Woman dancing around a pole
When does entertainment become exploitation?

Sexism is still rife in London's City financial district and more needs to be done to tackle practices such as taking clients to strip clubs, a report says.

The Fawcett Society said women were hindered by factors such as inflexible work hours and a lack of suitable jobs.

Mothers were those most likely to suffer, with 30,000 women a year losing their jobs after they fell pregnant.

The society said the London situation was repeated across the UK, with women earning on average 17% less than men.

According to the Fawcett Society the UK has the largest pay gap in the European Union, and women working part-time earn 36% less than men working full time.

Paying the price

"Behind the conspicuous wealth of the City lies a hidden story of disadvantage and discrimination affecting women at every level of business - from the bathroom to the boardroom," said Dr Katherine Rake, Fawcett's director.

11% of FTSE 100 directors are women
Women account for 20% of MPs
26% of civil service top managers are women
Source: Fawcett Society

"Women have the right to dignity and respect in their workplaces and in their daily lives," she added.

"Everyone pays the price for sexism, so everyone has a role to play in stamping it out."

In the City, one of the main problems facing women is the culture of long hours and male-dominated entertaining that seems to surround a lot of deal making.

This can lead to women being marginalised or asked to attend meetings in strip clubs and lap-dancing bars.

The Fawcett Society wants local authorities to change their legislation to give local authorities greater powers to limit and control the number of such clubs.

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