Russian metal company under fire for 'femininity' bonuses

Two women chat while walking along Nikolskaya street during a sunny day in Moscow.
Two women chat while walking along Nikolskaya street during a sunny day in Moscow.PHOTO: AFP

MOSCOW (AFP) - A Russian aluminium producer has come under fire for offering bonuses to women who came to work wearing skirts and makeup, in what it described as a month-long "femininity marathon".

Online commentators ridiculed the initiative, with one popular social media channel saying it was something from "the dark ages" and another Twitter user crudely inviting management to wear makeup themselves.

But Tatprof, based in the republic of Tatarstan, defended the initiative, telling Russian media it "brightened up" the workplace.

In social media posts, the company announced it would pay women an extra 100 roubles (S$2) a day if they met conditions that also included wearing their hair up.

Female employees were invited to send photos of themselves to a given number in order to receive the bonus, in a scheme advertised to run until the end of June.

Anastasia Kirillova from the company's communications department told Russian media said it was a "great way to rally a team" that was 70 per cent male.

"We hope the initiative will increase awareness of our women, allowing them to feel their femininity and charm when they opt for a skirt or a dress," she told the Govorit Moskva radio station on Wednesday.

Women were still allowed to wear trousers, she said.